24 Feb 2012
- User rating
- Critic rating
- Currently 4/5 Stars.
From a screenplay by James Ellroy (“L.A. Confidential”) and director Oren Moverman (Oscar-nominated "The Messenger”), comes Rampart. Veteran police officer Dave Brown (Woody Harrelson), dedicated to doing “the people’s dirty work” and asserting his own code of justice, is the last of the renegade cops in the LAPD. When he gets caught on tape beating a suspect, he finds himself in a personal and emotional downward spiral as he struggles to take care of his family, and fight for his own survival. With an all star cast including Robin Wright, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Foster and Steve Buscemi, this high octane cop thriller has been labelled “a film to file alongside the great LA noir masterpieces of the 1970s – dazzling, stunning and unique” - 5 stars, Time Out.
- Critic rating
Movies.ie Critic Review
Directed by Oren Moverman. Starring Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster, Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright, Steve Buscemi, Ned Beatty, Ice Cube, Anne Heche, Cynthia Nixon.
THE PLOT: Harrelson plays LAPD Officer Dave Brown, his already shaky life hitting something of a tailspin when he’s caught on camera beating a fleeing driver who has just ploughed into his cop car. The force are facing a major investigation and Brown – regarded by even his own extended family (having a child each by two co-habiting sisters, Heche and Nixon; naturally, the kids are not all right) as “a dirty cop with a dirty mind” - soon reaches boiling point, convinced that he has been set up as a distraction. So, he refuses to go quietly, reckoning “I’ve nowhere else to go”. Having followed in his father’s footsteps for the last 24 years, Brown knows the law, and when the police brass circle, he spits out that, fighting it through the courts, “I’ll have my own show on Fox News within one week”. The self-righteous Brown reckons he’s “the one cop that gets it”, but his paranoia is soon out of control…
THE VERDICT: Somewhere between Bad Lieutenant and Training Day, Moverman and Harrelson’s second outing together (after The Messenger, for which both were Oscar-nominated) is a peach. As with Fassbender and Gosling, Woody (who does self-repressed rage beautifully, despite being a self-confessed Hawaiian hippie) really should have gotten an Oscar nomination here. Perhaps the Academy just don’t feel comfortable watching disturbed loners battling their inner-demons as they spiral into a self-created hellhole? Could be too close to the bone.
Director Moverman co-wrote with celebrated noir crime novelist James Ellroy (L.A. Confidential, The Black Dahlia), and the resulting script crackles and pops. As with much of Ellroy’s work, the devil is in the detail. Lucky for Moverman then, he has an incredible supporting cast, the likes of Wright, Foster, Beatty, Heche and Buscemi putting plenty of meat on what would traditionally be bare-bone characters. RATING: 4/5
Review by Paul Byrne