Harvey Critic - 24/01


There's really only one reason to see "Rampart, " but it's a good enough one--and that's the awards-worthy performance of Woody Harrelson in the role of a dirty cop. The L.A.-based police drama that may well have been inspired by the Rodney King affair is murky--a downer with a plot that is repetitive, spinning on in a circular way to put us firmly into the mind of the rogue cop, Dave Brown (Woody Harrelson) who is coming apart at the seams both on his beat and within his strange family. The major part of Bobby Bukowski's filming is dark and sometimes dizzying. The neighborhood is bleak and appears riddled with crime, which is all Dave Brown needs to know to release his macho style on everyone he meets. He is so controlling that he even forces a rookie cop in the precinct to eat the fries that she orders, despite her insistence that she is watching her cholesterol. (Never mind the burger that she downs, though the whole scene may be Woody Harrelson's sending up of his own raw-food shtick, having had a role in a DVD about reversing diabetes by eschewing the gas range: the end-credits list his personal nutritionist.)

Bookmark and Share

Millennium Entertainment

Reviewed for Arizona Reporter by Harvey Karten

Grade: B-
Director: Oren Moverman
Screenwriter: James Ellroy, Oren Moverman
Cast: Woody Harrelson, Robin Wright, Sigourney Weaver, Ice Cube, Ned Beatty, Cynthia Nixon, Anne Heche, Brie Larson
Screened at: Review 1, NYC, 1/23/12
Opens: February 10, 2012

Dave Brown is a veteran police officer with the L.A.P.D., though despite twenty-four years with the department he wears only two stripes--which probably means that he's merely a corporal with a little supervisory authority within the precinct. Perhaps because of his low rank after all that service or maybe because of his criminal actions on the force, Brown is brutal to alleged criminals and, with his own family, a bad husband (consecutively) to two sisters (Cynthia Nixon and Anne Heche). He believes it's OK to put away the bad guys for good, which is why he killed an alleged serial date-rapist--giving him the nickname in the precinct of Date Rape, which his confused older daughter (Brie Larson) uses to address him. Accused by one of his ex-wives of ruining the lives of the two daughters, he is in even greater trouble with his police unit, investigated by the D.A. (Steve Buscemi) and the assistant D.A. Joan Confrey (Sigourney Weaver), and pursued by internal affairs officer Kyle Timkins (Ice Cube). Yet because he projects the image of "all man," he scores with the women he hits on in bars including Linda Fentress (Robin Wright) who he believes may be setting him up, and is given shady advice by his mentor, Hartshorn (Ned Beatty) who may also be stabbing him in the back. General Terry (Ben Foster), a homeless man in a wheelchair who witnessed one of Brown's murders, believes he is owed special favors by the cop as well.

Director Oren Moverman, whose "The Messenger" (which also featured Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson and Steve Buscemi) looked in upon a pair of military men who visit the families of soldiers killed in action, does allow us some sympathy for a cop who is his own worst enemy, as when we watch Dave Brown privately consider suicide while publicly refusing responsibility for his extreme behavior. Moverman, using a script he co-wrote with James Ellroy, does well in featuring Harrelson in virtually every scene, an actor whose charisma commands attention even in a slow-moving drama that is a downer all the way.

Rated R. 112 minutes © 2011 by Harvey Karten Member: NY Film Critics Online Harvey Karten Member: NY Film Critics Online.

Comment Using Facebook


Latest Movie Reviews
By Harvey Critic

Member NYFCO
At the movie's conclusion, Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) states: "We've had life for a billion years. Now we know what to do with it." What does she think we should do with our lives? Presumably we should be able to stare at a gun and watch the bullets fall out harmlessly to the ground; look at a bunch of gangsters pointing AK-47s at us and have them drop their pieces and fly to the ceiling flaying impotently' conjure up dinosaurs and disappear just as they are about to gobble you up; and drive effortlessly down a one-way highway while watching cars pile up helplessly. In other words, while you may think that Lucy, who is steadily able to raise the capacity of her brain from the usual, human 10% to 100%, will be able to solve a Rubik Cube in 15 seconds, complete a New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle in indelible ink, or memorize 154 theorems in minutes without ever taking high-school geometry, Lucy's brain is completely different. Sure, she probably could learn to speak French with a Montréal accent if she should get the strange notion to do so, but writer-director Luc Besson has other plans for this brainiac. She has the powers of a superhero: she can exercise telekinesis by moving objects and people from one place to another by simply willing it, can take a quick look at the unspoiled U.S. when Native Americans ruled the land, and touch the forehead of a famous scientist to discover that his six-year-old daughter had died in an auto accident. What's more she can look at an X-ray of a person on an operating table, discern that he has advanced, incurable cancer, and shoot the poor fellow because "he could not possibly survive anyway."

Arizona Newsroom
Pushing the boundaries of classical ballet, Spain's emerging choreographic powerhouse Alejandro Cerrudo presents Off Screen, a dance inspired by film. It's sexy and modern with eccentric moves. Ib Andersen showcases the elegant and intricate Symphonie Classique with costumes by Tony Award-winning designer Martin Pakledinaz,and Indigo Rhapsody, an arresting and athletic ballet danced to Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department will host six public open houses where constituents may review and ask questions about the 2014 spring recommendations for turkey, javelina, buffalo and bear.

Finding Arizona Reporter

Sponsored Links
Arctic Cat Parts | Hyosung Parts | E-Ton Parts | CFMoto Parts