'Rhymes for Young Ghouls' Beats 'True Detective' to the Punch

Still from Ep. 3 of True Detective and the poster for Rhymes for Young Ghouls
People have been going crazy the past few days over that wild, chilling final shot from episode 3 of True Detective. In short, the HBO series starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey (perhaps the best step in the recent McConnaissance), ended with McConaughey’s detective and/or mad prophet Rust Cohle getting to the part in his story where his investigation leads to a monster at the end of the road. In short, the episode ends with a potential murder suspect emerging from the swamp wearing nothing but his tighty whities and a gas mask while carrying a machete. (Check here for a full recap.) It’s a truly haunting image and a great example for why True Detective is turning out to be one of the best things on television, but it’s not without precedent. For anyone who attended last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, we know that Jeff Barnaby’s Rhymes for Young Ghouls beat HBO to the punch. (Full TIFF review here.)

"The Monster"
The image from Rhymes, which was easily one of the standout Canadian films of 2013, features 15 year-old Alia “the weed princess of Red Crow Mi’gMaq reservation,” played by newcomer Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs in a searing performance, wearing a gas mask and brandishing a baseball bat. Alia sells dope to pay the truancy tax to keep her out of the residential school (the mask keeps weed fumes at bay) and the bat’s for the local po-po named Popper (Mark Antony Krupa) who’s coming after Alia’s family and her supply.
Alia (Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs) in Rhymes for Young Ghouls.
Photo: eOne Films

It’s worth pointing out the iconographic parallels between True Detective and Rhymes for Young Ghouls since the theatrical release of Rhymes comes hot on the heels of last week’s episode. (The film opens in Toronto on Friday.) If True Detective is an HBO original, then Rhymes is without precedent. Barnaby’s singular Canadian film confronts Canada’s awful history with the residential school unlike any movie has before. The film is infused with grit and lore, envisioning this chapter of history in the most badass and empowering way.  

So, props go to the marketing team for Rhymes for anticipating this soon to be iconic shot. I hope it helps bring people out in droves to see one of the best and most significant Canadian films of late.

Rhymes for Young Ghouls opens:
January 31st, Toronto @ Cineplex Yonge & Dundas
February 14th, Vancouver @ Vancity Theatre
February 28th, Montreal @ Cineplex Forum & Ex-Centris

(I’ll keep you updated on future dates!)

And here’s that shot from True Detective: