Rampart (15)

Film

Thrillers

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5
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Time Out says

Fri Oct 14 2011

‘Rampart’ feels like no movie you’ve ever seen. Taking the same meandering, off-beam improv techniques that he employed to devastating emotional effect in his directorial debut, ‘The Messenger’, and applying them to a sprawling police procedural script originally penned by crime mastermind James Ellroy, Oren Moverman has produced a stunning, idiosyncratic anti-thriller which, like its brash, inflexible central character, refuses to play by any rules.

Woody Harrelson plays ‘Date Rape’ Dave Brown, a bulldog beat cop working in LA’s infamous Rampart division during the long-running late ’90s corruption scandal which would ultimately tear the department apart. Brown is the ultimate cinematic expression of Ellroy’s archetypal hero: a conflicted, violent, womanising, borderline racist murderer with a razor wit, an encyclopaedic brain and a dominant instinct towards the (many) women in his life.

The film’s foremost act of rebellion against Hollywood orthodoxy is its absolute avoidance of narrative momentum: though numerous plot strands weave in and out, very few are resolved. This is a character study plain and simple, a journey into the mind of one very serious, very smart, very sick individual. And Harrelson more than rises to the occasion: this is not only by far his finest performance but one of the most impressive in recent memory.

Moverman responds with a visual and aural barrage, a kaleidoscope of off-kilter angles, screeching noise and intimate studies of Harrelson’s increasingly haggard face. The result is abrasive but deeply involving: there’s barely a shot or a line of dialogue that doesn’t add to our understanding of – and grudging appreciation of – this flawed figure. A word of advice: ‘Rampart’ should be seen on the big screen, Moverman and Harrelson’s commitment demanding equal focus from the viewer.

It’s impossible to list all of the incidental pleasures ‘Rampart’ offers, from a stunning B-cast including Anne Heche and Cynthia Nixon as Brown’s ex-wives, and Sigourney Weaver as a thin-lipped department head, to a disorienting soundtrack incorporating everything from Leonard Cohen to Gang Gang Dance. The closest point of comparison might be Ben Wheatley’s similarly erratic ‘Kill List’. Like that film, ‘Rampart’ is sure to provoke furious reactions in those unwilling to succumb to its mood of reckless abandon. But for those who can, this feverish slice of LA noir is set to be one of the purest cinematic pleasures of 2012.

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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Feb 24, 2012

Duration:

108 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|20
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Heidi Jones

Dreadful film, complete waste of my time and money - it was about sex and fags and a poor ending too. However do see it to make up your own mind - the more films I see 'rated' fantastic the more money I waste!

Lisa

This movie was so boring! Still not even sure what it is actually about...seemed to mostly be about Sex and Cigarettes! I can't believe I wasted almost 2 hours of my life on this movie that I can't get back:( So dissapointing.

Gina

One of the worst films I have ever seen. Pointless, boring, has been done before much better (bad lieutenant, 2009). And the ultimate hubris: The alleged psychopath does not even tick more than 5-6 boxes on Bob Hare's checklist.

Ian

Killer movie. TO review gets it dead right - a visual incarnation of Ellroy's brand of LA Hell. Superb cinematography and great use of sound, this is an acid view of corruption and moral decay in the LAPD. Put me in mind of The Wire. Terrific soundtrack as well. Harrelson carries the whole thing brilliantly.

Ian

Killer movie. TO review gets it dead right - a visual incarnation of Ellroy's brand of LA Hell. Superb cinematography and great use of sound, this is an acid view of corruption and moral decay in the LAPD. Put me in mind of The Wire. Terrific soundtrack as well. Harrelson carries the whole thing brilliantly.

Despoina

I found myself wondering for the endless hours this film lasts: what does it add to 1992 Abel Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant? It is more or less the same film, which would be fine if at some level, artistically or dramatically, there was something to be gained. I am simply not convinced that anything was added on any level. It was superbly acted but then again is that enough? The actors in it are amazing so they would be excellent anyhow. The film is not without merits but it could have done better.

Paul Murphy

Rampart is driven by Ellroy's fine script: Dave Brown, utterly repulsive and unsympathetic, like a hardened alcoholic in total denial, living his role in his cop show/Brando TV/film fantasy, versus the humanity all around him whom he uses and abuses. The camerawork was dreadful, full of gratuitous This Life hand held faux-verite wobblyvision and pointless extreme close-ups and suilly angles, and the sound was unexceptional. On balance though, definitely worth seeing, 4 stars rather than 3. Very good (if slightly overrated) preformance from Harrelson.

Jane

I saw this film last weekend and would say it is one of my favourite films of all time. Woody Harrelson's performance is absolutely superb. Seeing this film was both an enjoyable and emotional experience. If you like your cinema gritty and 'deep' then do not be put off by some of the other reviews.

Jane

I saw this film last weekend and would say it is one of my favourite films of all time. Woody Harrelson's performance is absolutely superb. Seeing this film was both an enjoyable and emotional experience. If you like your cinema gritty and 'deep' then do not be put off by some of the other reviews.

luke

every film time out seems to like the majority of commenters here slate relentlessly. Why does everyone keep coming to this slate only to rant at the 'pompous critics? This was a great film- thanks to TH for pointing that out to us who may otherwise not have found it.

luke

every film time out seems to like the majority of commenters here slate relentlessly. Why does everyone keep coming to this slate only to rant at the 'pompous critics? This was a great film- thanks to TH for pointing that out to us who may otherwise not have found it.

David Bauckham

Woody Harrelson's performance is indeed superb in this film, it's just a pity he is potraying such a charmless, self-pitying bully. The over-riding feeling is not sympathy with his plight, but that he deserves all he gets. Nobody else in the film is very likeable either. Add to that the intrusive background sound (to the point of making a lot of the dialogue inaudible), annoying hand-held camerawork, and a sordid feel to the whole proceedings and this makes for a depressing and gloomy experience. There's not even a very good or interesting story.

Blaize67

This movie seems to have captured the critics good opinions. In fact it's hyped as the new "LA Confidential", which it most definitely ain't. Unconvincing and incoherent storytelling, even no story at all, just a tedious mish-mash of scenes in which various actors like Sigourney Weaver, Steve Buscemi and Anne Heche wander thru. I noticed that the 3 or so scenes Sigourney was in she seemed to repeat what she said before, and there's no point to the presence of Ice Cube and Robert Wisdom at all. A failure in every aspect of movie making. Not recommended.

David

Went to see this the other night and was quite disappointed. Harrelson is amazing in his role and it clearly suits him. There is no pace which is fine, but the film doesn't build into more. It just floats through. As for the "visual and audio kaleidoscope barrage?" Pfft, there's a few uses of sound that are unusual but don't add to the film and as for the camera work? The revolving camera scene spoke of total amateurism. This film is quite good as a depiction of brutal humanity but without Harrelsons strong effort, it would fall flat on its face.

Bean

Very very very far from a five star film. This is one of those flicks where the critics response seems quite out of step with most film goers. It's a sprawling mess. Sure, Harrelson portarys an ugly character well but as a film it's poor. Nearly switched it off a couple of times. I don't understand the comparison to Kill List, which while a flawed film, I enjoyed.

critique

If you`re looking for a throughly miserable albeit creatively filmed character study of a deeply disturbed L.A. cop then this might be the film for you. If, like me, you prefer some degree of enjoyment and entertainment in your trips to the cinema, then I advise you look elsewhere.

Sutton

Way short of a five star film and very disappointing given the good reviews. It rambles on and is quite unsatisfying. Harrelson is good, but this film has been done much better before, you only have to look at Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage last year - a better film in so many ways.

Robert Thornton

What's the matter with all the critics, this film has nothing new to offer on the bent cop theme, nicely filmed and acted but the same old same old, forgettable.

Ian

I think the reviewer is reading too much into the film. I nearly fell asleep twice it was that dull. If you take away Harrelson's excellent central performance of a troubled man on the verge of a breakdown you are left with a film that is badly shot, woodenly acted and too full of its own ego. The film just sort of fades out with no real conclusion and leaves lots of questions unanswered. It was a real disappointment.