Written by director Oren Moverman and police drama legend James Ellroy (L.A. Confidential), Rampart is set in Los Angeles in 1999.
Woody Harrelson is "Date Rape" Dave Brown. He is a dirty cop in a gritty, down-and-dirty movie. Dave’s claim to fame is that he might have killed a serial date rapist; a fact he neither admits nor denies but smugly plays up in conversations with others.
Dave’s sense of the job is all out of whack. He is completely corrupt and has long been in the crosshairs of crusaders cleaning up the department. Dave impulsively plays into their hands and gets caught on camera beating a suspect. He has access to powerful — and equally corrupt — strings. They help him temporarily keep his job.
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What they can’t do is keep Dave on the straight and narrow.
Then there’s the family. Dave, a notorious womanizer, married and then divorced two sisters. He had a daughter with each. They all live together, and he occasionally sleeps with one sister or the other. The two ex-wives and the daughters are tired of dealing with the drunken, depressed Dave, too.
And on goes the plot, getting uglier by the scene.
After the excellence of his first feature, The Messenger, Moverman’s second full-length film is a disappointment. Too much Ellroy and not enough humanity. The only real positives are great performances from Harrelson and co-stars Sigourney Weaver, Ben Foster, Ice Cube, Robin Wright, Brie Larson, Cynthia Nixon, Anne Heche and others.
Mr. Movie rating: 3 stars
Rated R for violence, language, nudity. It opens Friday, March 23 at the Carmike 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.