Daily notes 2014-Q1
My comprehensive True Detective case file.
After three years of putting effort into Oscar commentary and predictions, the intellectual returns have diminished to the extent that I am condescendingly decreeing they are no longer important to me.
But I like gambling, and I did make some predictions.
Out of the myriad difficulties one might have with this narrative, this is perhaps the most criminal: so Secretary of Defense, Charles Kirkland, gets an anonymous email from a government employee who fears a coverup over serious technical problems with a brand new missle defense system, the AirGuard. Kirkland replies saying he needs proof – and that this person should bring him the proof at a major Atlantic City Title Fight, where he will be swarmed by press and surrounded by security. He gives her no further information about how to find him during this event; the best she can think to do is “get a good look of the arena from high up.” He is sitting ringside so there’s no possibility of getting anywhere near him. The ringisde seat directly in front of him is vacant, because – apparently – Commander Dunne wants her to use it. Nobody bats at eye as an incredibly conspicuous blonde in a solid white, reflective, sexy suit waltzes ringside – “No ticket.” – sits in the open seat, and carries on a conversation with the Secretary of Defense. You may be saying, “But Commander Dunne was in charge of security, and could’ve ensured that she was left alone.” I suppose that’s possible, but that would require a conspiracy of silence among myriad security units that would be impossible to maintain. Dunne would never have left so many loose ends. There’s also just a tiny little lapse of logic in having your secret rendezvous ringside at a major sporting event that is being recorded from every conceivable angle, conversing with the Secretary of Defense and handing him mysterious files.
Oh, and I would like to note that I just love how Sinise’s character is named Kevin Dunne and the film features actor Kevin Dunn (as the reporter with access to the investigation). See? Insert dramatic “dunne dunn” sound effect here. And for the record, I knew it back in 1998! Why? Oh, because of Stir of Echoes, obviously. Koepp again. Makes me wonder if Koepp and Dunn were friendly – Dunn is from Chicago, after all!
Heh heh. There’s a lot in the film I really enjoy, but the simple number of coincidences make the ending absolute horseshit. And here’s my main problem: a police van smashes through the wall (shaking my head) and the officers instantly see a man with a gun, so they order him to drop his weapon. Never mind that this man is – very, very clearly – a decorated military officer.
It would appear that Santoro contacted some of his cop buddies and told them to show up at the casino with orders to arrest Commander Kevin Dunne (which, I guess, they were willing to do just because). This tip-off would’ve been after the scene in the stairwell when Costello informs Santoro that Dunne is a conspirator, and before Santoro examines the Eye in the Sky footage which captures Dunne in the act (even though the footage merely shows Dunne standing in wait without the redhead present – not exactly ironclad proof of corruption). We are led to believe that Santoro refuses to acknowledge that Dunne is corrupt until he has his proof in the footage, but it seems that he hedged his bet, contacted his peers and told them to arrest Dunne. He is not a man with any particular amount of authority, and Dunne is a respected Navy Commander. So Santoro must’ve had to detail everything he knew so that somebody over there would believe him. That, or his Atlantic City cop buddies are just piss poor police officers – which is certainly possible! I guess some people will do anything for Ricky. If you say so, Mr. Koepp.
The film’s final shot features the redhead’s ruby ring in the newly placed pillar for Powell’s Millennium Casino, underway after all. I know how the ring got there – but I don’t know why we should care. Is it a reminder that the casino wouldn’t exist without bloodshed – an homage to Santoro’s blood money? That’s the best I can do.
Oh, now I think I’ve got it! The middling rock tune which plays over the end credits, Meredith Brooks’ “Sin City,” contains the refrain, “You’ll never leave Sin City.” There you have it: Mrs. Redhead Conspirator cemented in the pillar; corruption leads to death. Santoro opts to serve in heaven. Well… again, if you say so, Mr. Koepp.