Oscar-nominated writer-director Oren Moverman returns behind the camera for Rampart, a fantastic second film that sees him to return to work with Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster from his debut, The Messenger.
This time around, Harrelson is front and centre in the corrupt L.A. crime drama, and it’s a role that has been deservedly described as the performance of his career. I saw the film at the London Film Festival late last year (you can read my review of the film here), and it was by far one of the best corrupt cop dramas I’ve seen in years.
“Los Angeles, 1999. Officer Dave Brown 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?”
To whet our appetites for the film, Millennium Entertainment have now made the first five minutes available to watch online through Yahoo Movies, and if you weren’t interested in seeing this movie already, I highly recommend you watch the clip below to get excited for its release at the end of the month.
James Ellroy, heralded as one of the best crime novelists in America, co-wrote the script with Moverman, and along with Harrelson and Foster, the cast includes terrific performances from Ice Cube, Robin Wright, Brie Larson, Ned Beatty, Anne Heche, Sigourney Weaver, Cynthia Nixon, and another collaboration with Steve Buscemi, who took a role in Moverman’s first film too.
Rampart will be released here in the UK on 24th February, which will see it opening against Katherine Heigl’s One for the Money and Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds’ Safe House. If you’re heading to the cinema that weekend, I’d definitely recommend choosing Rampart as your film of choice. Harrelson deserves every bit of the recognition he’s been getting for his role, and Moverman shows that the Oscar-nominated The Messengers was clearly no fluke. I’m already excited to see what the writer-director brings us next. For now, here’s the great opening of Rampart, which will be with us in full in less than two weeks. Enjoy.