Released February 10, 2012
Directed By Oren Moverman
Starring Woody Harrelson
Rampart is a drama film starring Woody Harrelson as a troubled LAPD cop named Dave Brown who seems to be losing his way, often abusing his power and having major anger issues. The film gets off to a slow start, often mudding the water with boring bar scenes and lackluster pacing. Thankfully, things pick up when Brown starts to perform some dastardly deeds on his “victims”. He is extremely violent, abusing his authority without remorse. In the early stages of the film, you really don’t like Harrelson’s character and you wonder if he will ever get right. It’s not exactly the best character to cheer on, although it’s not always necessary. Harrelson is the focal point of the film, delivering one of the finest performances of his career. The supporting cast is chock full of stars such as Sigourney Weaver and Ice Cube, which spices things up a bit. The film’s story line is spot-on, but has it’s hitches here and there.
Midway through Rampart, you really get interested. You begin to care about Brown and genuinely want the man to get right, despite his actions. You watch as he loses his wife, children and home right before your eyes, and he is on the verge of going to prison for murder. Some of the dialogue in Rampart, especially Brown’s, is simply fascinating. It really sheds light on the character, showing him to be witty and intelligent.
The film offers truly touching but emotionally gripping moments such as when Brown watches television with his daughter and when he realizes he is losing all that’s important in life. It is indeed a very sad predicament, but Brown is such an intriguing individual that it keeps you interested. A good way to describe the film is that it’s heavy on a character study but light on plot. The film tends to care too much about Dave Brown that it loses focus of delivering any type of meaning or more importantly, closure to the story. Despite Harrelson’s mesmerizing performance, Rampart falls short of greatness, due to the lack of substance and linear story. When all is said and done, you will appreciate Rampart for what it is, and it deserves acclimation for it’s valiant efforts.
4 out of 5