One film I can’t get on board with this awards season is Oren Moverman‘s Rampart. I greatly admired his debut film The Messenger, but after viewing his follow-up at TIFF this fall, I was awestruck. How could someone that created such a tense drama with honest characters deliver such a disaster? With Rampart, Moverman heavily experiments with different editing styles and vibrant cinematography for a grittier feel, but it all come off feeling faux and forced.
Woody Harrelson does deliver a watchable performance as this corrupt cop, but it doesn’t overcome with many issues I have with the rest of the supporting cast. I look forward to greater discussion after everyone can see it, but for now check out the first trailer on Apple for the film also starring Ned Beatty, Ben Foster, Anne Heche, Ice Cube, Cynthia Nixon, Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright and Steve Buscemi.
Los Angeles, 1999. Officer Dave Brown (two-time Academy Award(R) nominee Woody Harrelson) is a Vietnam vet and a Rampart Precinct cop, dedicated to doing “the people’s dirty work” and asserting his own code of justice, often blurring the lines between right and wrong to maintain his action-hero state of mind. When he gets caught on tape beating a suspect, he finds himself in a personal and emotional downward spiral as the consequences of his past sins and his refusal to change his ways in light of a department-wide corruption scandal seal his fate. Brown internalizes his fear, anguish and paranoia as his world, complete with two ex-wives who are sisters, two daughters, an aging mentor dispensing bad advice, investigators galore, and a series of seemingly random women, starts making less and less sense. In the end, what is left is a human being stripped of all his pretense, machismo, chauvinism, arrogance, sexism, homophobia, racism, aggression, misanthropy; but is it enough to redeem him as a man?
Rampart hits very limited theaters on Nov. 23rd before a wider roll-out in January.