Rampart (2011) Movie Review
By:Mike Holtz, WeWatchedAMovie
Directed by: Oren Moverman (The Messenger) Written by: Oren Moverman and James Ellroy (Street Kings, L.A. Confidential, Dark Blue)
Starring: Woody Harrelson (Zombieland), Ben Foster (The Punisher), Sigourney Weaver (Alien), Ice Cube (Friday), Anne Heche (Cedar Rapids)
Woody Harrelson plays a corrupt cop named “Date Rape” Dave (and for those of you still reading, we continue) who got the moniker not from doing so but rather for allegedly killing someone who did. He also lives in something one can only call a “situation” in which he married sisters (both at different times) had kids with each, divorced each and now insists that they all live under the same two roofs in homes right next to each-other. This leads to an awkward moment in which his daughter actually asks if their family is incest. Dave is also a cop that really likes to beat people down. Not just anyone mind you, everyone. Because he is not racist, he simply hates everyone.
The whole story focuses on Dave trying to beat a charge of victim abuse when a camera catches him beating the daylights out of a perpetrator that hit his car. All the while we watch Dave womanize, take drugs, smoke about two million cigarettes and try to get his two families to love him despite his disturbing life choices.
Despite the disgusting things his character does Harrelson actually makes you feel bad for him in a few fleeting moments. All the while you know he deserves everything he gets and more but it’s hard to hate him when he is watching television with his youngest daughter and cannot stop smiling at the thought of her wanting to be near him. The film is also packed with small roles by big names like Steve Buscemi and Sigourney Weaver who spice up the film but don’t really add anything memorable.
Harrelson makes the film watchable with an amazing performance and like a train wreck, is hard to take your eyes off. Unfortunately, Rampart is a gritty character study that is more repetition than self discovery. See Dave womanize, disgust his family, say shocking things, beat someone up, get wasted, freak out, rinse and repeat. He gets deeper into trouble with his family and career with each endeavor and never really learns anything from it. By the films end you realize Rampart suffers the same fate as Dave in that it’s not going to change its ways and is ultimately headed nowhere.
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