Rampart

Rampart

Veteran police officer Dave Brown, 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. 3.4 out of 5 based on 20 reviews
Rampart

Omniscore:

Certificate 15
Genre Drama
Director Oren Moverman
Cast Robin Wright, Steve Buscemi, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Foster, Jon Bernthal, Ice Cube Woody Harrelson
Studio Studio Canal UK
Release Date February 2012
Running Time 108 mins
 

Veteran police officer Dave Brown, 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.

Reviews

Time Out

Tom Huddleston

The film’s foremost act of rebellion against Hollywood orthodoxy is its absolute avoidance of narrative momentum: though numerous plot strands weave in and out, very few are resolved. This is a character study plain and simple, a journey into the mind of one very serious, very smart, very sick individual. And Harrelson more than rises to the occasion: this is not only by far his finest performance but one of the most impressive in recent memory.

21/02/2012

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The Observer

Philip French

Harrelson's Brown is paranoia and self-justification personified, a man torn between retribution and redemption, driven to suspecting everyone around him and using his formidable knowledge of the law to baffle his antagonists and provide a cloak of innocence ... It confirms Harrelson's position as one of the best, most ambitious, least self-regarding actors at work today, and by the end he's compelled us to understand Brown and accord him a grudging respect.

26/02/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Jonanthan Romney

I'm not sure why the film falls somewhat short of brilliance. Rampart is a compelling, classy character study that's crammed with good qualities – almost too crammed. I can't remember when I last saw a film that wasn't an ensemble piece but was so full of notable cameos. But the result is that you never quite get a grip on Brown's world or the people in it. Because this is a police story, you expect more of a cogent narrative – which doesn't mean that there ought to be one, simply that you expect one.

26/02/2012

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The Sunday Times

Cosmos Landesman

Imagine Bad Lieutenant without the coke and Catholic guilt. It’s set in LA in 1999, and has as its backdrop the true events involving the widespread corruption of the Rampart Division. Directed by Oren Moverman (who directed Harrelson in The Messenger) and co-written with James Ellroy, it portrays a man who can’t adapt to a new world of civil rights, considerate policing, bars where you can’t smoke and teenage kids who diss their dads.

26/02/2012

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The Times

Wendy Ide

Sufficiently distinctive to stand up as one of the best of its ilk.

24/02/2012

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The Financial Times

Nigel Andrews

LAPD fun, the world knows, is in a class of its own. “Rampart” is the precinct with the worst record: so bad it inspired a cable teleseries, The Shield. The movie ... has a shimmying complexity and a savage wit. At its centre is a character portrait almost as memorably excruciating – in its tormented, self-tormenting psyche – as Büchner’s Woyzeck.

23/02/2012

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The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

An involving and tense study of a long, slow, agonising endgame; scenes from a life in denial and descent.

23/02/2012

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The New York Times

Manohla Dargis

It’s a vivid, often mesmerizing portrait of a man rotting from the inside out, though perhaps only partly because the organization he works for, and the world he inhabits, are sick too. Yet why Dave does what he does is anyone’s guess, because one of the movie’s strengths is that it finds meaning in his actions without trying to explain him. Some people, it suggests, remain mysteries, which, however maddening, also helps make Dave insistently watchable.

22/11/2011

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The Scotsman

Alistair Harkness

The film gradually changes from another Bad Lieutenant-esque trip into insanity to a more meditative film about the cost of crossing the line to get the job done.

23/02/2012

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Channel 4 Film

Rebecca Davies

There's one big problem. Dave is a complete arsehole. None of the characters in the film can bear to spend more than a few minutes with him, but we have to stick with him through every single scene for 102 minutes.

24/02/2012

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Time Magazine

Richard Corliss

In a movie that is as grimy visually as it is gritty in its narrative, the camera spends lots of time studying the star’s craggy profile while Dave prowl-cars through the L.A. night. That’s one of the ways that Rampart declares itself an indie film rather than a mainstream movie. Granted, long takes of the leading man’s face are often a sign of directorial indulgence or vacuity. But Harrelson always rewards watching; he’s no less potent at rest than when he detonates in calculated rage.

26/11/2011

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The New Statesman

Ryan Gilbey

Sometimes you just end up without much in the way of tension, pace or narrative; sometimes a snazzy visual style isn't an expression of character or meaning - it's just a snazzy visual style. Even Woody could have told you, pulling pints behind the bar at Cheers.

23/02/2012

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Empire Magazine

Dan Jolin

It’s more a character study and a performance workshop, with Harrelson in every scene. And it’s an undeniably impressive performance; not so much a study of evil as of a weakling who confuses his anachronistic tendencies with strength, the bully who sees himself as victim, “the one cop who gets it”. In Harrelson’s hands Brown is a compelling mess of spilled testosterone.

20/02/2012

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The Evening Standard

David Sexton

Unfortunately, Ellroy disdains suspense, and by the end Rampart has become monotonous. Ellroy has claimed it shows "one very twisted man's redemption" - but he despises the very idea of such closure, having had none himself.

24/02/2012

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Total Film

Matt Glasby

Sometimes it’s like watching the most extreme episode of COPS ever filmed. At others, it’s distracting – there are only so many two-shots where one character’s hair obscures the other’s face that you can handle.

30/01/2012

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Screen

Howard Feinstein

Among the film’s problems, [however,] are that their lines are often overstated and that they are always overshadowed by the ambience. Their efforts are undermined by Moverman’s contrived, extremely busy approach. Too many self-conscious set-ups and jump cuts, lighting either overly dim or brashly lit, and an unrelentingly magnified soundtrack spoil the party.

11/11/2011

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The Independent

Anthony Quinn

With several directions for the plot to take, we wait to see which one it will pursue. And, astonishingly, it chooses none of them. The film scuttles sideways, and in circles: but it refuses to go forward. It's as if Moverman and Ellroy have put the stew in the pot but won't turn on the oven.

24/02/2012

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The Los Angeles Times

Betsy Sharkey

Amid the debris, there are some gems to be found. Robin Wright as the wrung-out and strung-out defense attorney Dave meets in a bar, matches his cynicism and his sexual need beat for beat. Ned Beatty as the retired cop who's been covering for Dave for years, handles his own black soul with such evil grace it's chilling. But the film is really Harrelson's calling card — if there was any doubt — proof that the goofy bartender of "Cheers" has turned into a natural born killer on-screen.

23/11/2011

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The Daily Telegraph

Robbie Collin

It’s hard to know what we’re supposed to extract, other than a vague sense that people who are inured to their own moral turpitude tend to come unstuck. Rampart might be a worthy attempt to probe the banality of evil, but after an hour and a half of its near-unvarying gruesomeness, it’s the film that starts to feel decidedly banal.

23/02/2012

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The Daily Mail

Chris Tookey

Stylistically reminiscent of good film noir, but lacks the narrative to hold the attention.

24/02/2012

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