Rampart

Gritty police drama from James Ellroy...

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Gritty police drama from James Ellroy…

Directed by Oren Moverman
Starring Woody Harrelson, Ned Beatty, Sigourney Weaver


Set against the Rampart Division scandal that rocked the LAPD in the late ‘90s – the rampant corruption and brutality that similarly inspired The Shield – James Ellroy’s story makes a hazier, less pulpy companion to his underrated Dark Blue.

Woody Harrelson plays Dave “Date Rape” Brown, a defiantly, conspicuously old school cop with a vigilante philosophy, nicotine-and-pills diet, and deeply messed-up private life. Pressure mounts when his latest bout of summary street justice makes headlines. The Department wants him out; Dave suspects he’s been set-up as scapegoat.

Another chapter of LA Confidential, we’re in familiar territory, yet despite a superb cast Rampart slips increasingly out of focus and coherence. Still Harrelson, a sly, wired and mad dinosaur, cuts through it like a knife. His second hook-up with director Oren Moverman following 2009’s The Messenger, this incredible performance leaves you wondering why so few filmmakers thought to put him at the centre of a movie for so long.
Damien Love

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