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Movie Review: RAMPART Starring Woody Harrelson

Monday, 5 December 2011

Missed the movie review last week, sorry about that I just didn’t get time to watch any movies.  Better week for you this time round and as I promised I watched Rampart the new movie starring Woody Harrelson where he has been hotly tipped to receive an Oscar nod.  I managed to stay clear of my other options and nearly didn’t watch this, my beloved Newcastle United are to thank for the fact that I did though, luckily for readers of this blog Newcastle got stuffed 3 – 0 by Chelsea so Match of the Day was not really an option.  I nearly settled for second best though, being lazy I was almost tempted to watch Taken with Liam Neeson for maybe the fourth or fifth time, being on TV it seemed the easier option (I’ll review that next week, maybe). 

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster, Anne Heche, Cynthia Nixon, Sigourney Weaver, Steve Buscemi and Ice Cube

The Plot

Set in 1999 Los Angeles Woody Harrelson plays Dave “Date Rape” Brown, a veteran of the L.A.P.D who has been pounding the streets for years, during that time Dave has developed a hatred for just about everyone including his L.A.P.D colleagues.  The only thing Dave works for is to secure and look after his family.  Dave is the last of the renegade cops, the man who still knows how to hand out a beating or two vigilante style, the kind of thing that cops these days don’t get away with.

Not heard of this movie?  The go check out the TRAILER I posted a couple of days ago, from that I guarantee you will want to see Rampart.

The Verdict

How do you solve a problem like Dave Brown?   That’s a question that is asked during this movie which closely follows on from the notorious L.A.P.D Rampart scandal.  Dave Brown is left on the streets a renegade cop who struggles to deal with the way the job has moved on, as far as police work actually goes I don’t recall seeing Woody carrying out to much of it he spent much of his time wrapped up in department scandals, listening to right wing radio stations, participating in hard drinking, smoking being racist and humiliating colleagues of the opposite sex.

I do have to say straight off that if Woody Harrelson gets the Oscar everyone thinks he will for this movie (Best actor in a lead role), then it’s thoroughly deserved.  He was so convincing as a man on the edge so deeply involved in corruption he has lost sight of what is morally right and wrong.  Dave Brown’s life is spiralling out of control at such a rate that he doesn’t even see himself, the wedge he is driving between him and the people he loves most.  I watched this in the hope that a man so wrapped up would eventually explode, unfortunately that never happened with department heads (Sigourney Weaver and Steve Buscemi) investigating him for savagely beating a man half to death after he crashed into his patrol car and an Internal Affairs agent (Ice Cube) who knows he’s corrupt but just need to prove it, these people being so far up his ass he would blow at any point, surely.  That never came and I have to be brutally honest and say that I at times was bored, almost reverting to watching what I mentioned above.

What first drew me to this was the fact people were comparing it to Training Day starring Denzel Washington (review coming soon), It is similar I suppose but they are very different movies, action and guns feature a lot more in Training Day than they do here.  Rampart is more of the deep and meaningful conversation type movie that at times simply lost my interest.  In fact I think I may have nodded off at one point, hope I didn’t miss anything to important.

Oren Moverman directed as he did with Harrelson in The Messenger, the way this movie was filmed put across a real gritty side to L.A, dark and not welcoming at all.  It wasn’t the L.A we are used to seeing in the movies.  This did help to capture the feel of the movie, very dark and very gritty with a cop just as corrupt to match the setting, they also do a great job (Harrelson probably) of turning a corrupt cop that you really shouldn’t like into a likable character, you are made to feel almost sorry for him sometimes.

Did I enjoy Rampart?  I can’t say that I did all that much, maybe it’s just not for me, my not liking the movie in no way takes away from the sublime performance delivered by Woody Harrelson.  I suppose to sum it up Rampart is what I would usually expect from something that is so hotly tipped for Oscars, there is so much hype before hand that it just fizzles.  A very good drama with deep emotion emphasised on Harrelson’s character but this movie was simply just not for me.

Would I watch it again?

I would have to say no, I don’t see myself watching this again.  I was disappointed with Rampart especially on the action side of things, I think after seeing this not enjoying it so much and liking Training Day better I may go and watch Brooklyn’s Finest, a movie which I hear can draw comparisons from both that I have mentioned above.

Rating: MMM
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