Explosive LA thriller from a James Ellroy script. “A terrific film: tense, shocking, complex, mesmerizing. It’s about a very bad Los Angeles cop, played with intricate demonic force by Woody Harrelson.” — Entertainment Weekly
Screened as part of NZIFF 2012
“Oren Moverman’s Rampart is a terrific film: tense, shocking, complex, mesmerizing. It’s about a very bad Los Angeles cop, played with intricate demonic force by Woody Harrelson. (Imagine his wily sociopath from Natural Born Killers, only 20 years older and on the other side of the law.) Moverman, who coaxed a great performance out of Harrelson in The Messenger (2009), layers on the close-ups and smudges the colors into a dirty kaleidoscope, the way Scorsese did in Taxi Driver, so that we feel hypnotized into the world of Harrelson’s Dave Brown, who’s like a coiled predator let loose in the jungle. The film is set in 1999, and it presents Dave as a fierce relic, an old-school racist badass and Lothario who prowls the city, his mind oiled by martinis that never get him drunk.
Rampart was written by Moverman and James Ellroy, and it seethes with ugly insider knowledge of what goes on in the minds of cops. Harrelson’s performance is brilliant, the threat coming off him like steam heat. The plot,… triggered by Dave getting caught on videotape as he beats a suspect, goes by in an elliptical haze, so that we’re never sure if someone’s out to get him or he’s digging his own grave. Rampart won't be for everyone, but it’s the work of a major directorial voice. It’s a thriller on fire.” — Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
“Brown is the ultimate cinematic expression of Ellroy’s archetypal hero… Harrelson’s performance is astonishing, and he’s backed by a gallery of terrific supporting players… A disorienting, dazzling and wholly unique experience, a film to file alongside the great LA noir masterpieces of the 1970s.” — Tom Huddleston, Time Out
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