Over the last decade there have been a lot of stories told about the police officers of the Los Angeles Police Department in film and television. A lot of times the story tellers are trying show an in depth or humanized side of the men and women that worked there in the 80s and 90s. Named after the police division Rampart is another one of these types of films. A character study of a hard to find redeemable police officer in the late 90s the film tries to show a fully realized portrait of middle age man as he starting to unravel as times change.
Woody Harrelson plays Officer Dave Brown, a vietnam vet who’s been with the force for over 20 plus years. He has his style of justice that he enforces on the streets. He has a complicated home life, living with two sisters who he has had a child with each and is divorced from both. He tries hard to keep his whole family together so he spend time with his children. While in pursuit of a suspect Brown is caught on tape beating a suspect which puts him in the crosshairs of the DA’s office who in the process of dealing with other scandals affecting the LAPD.
Woody Harrelson gives a good performance in this, while on screen he stays captivating to watch even though some of the directions of the plot leave much to be desired. You’re basically watch Harrelson play a man falling apart for two hours. While that can be interesting after so long it gets a bit tiresome even though acting is great. Brie Larson gives a pretty standard performance as the despondent and angry for no good reason teenage daughter. Her character is there to just be mean to adults the whole time.There are a lot of good actors in this that have some good moments on screen that really just leads to them telling the main character that he’s a bad person and why hasn’t he changed.
The director Oren Moverman does a pretty decent job directing though and what really shines is Bobby Bukowski on Cinematography. The heavy contrast and blown out look to the film to really make this LA look hot and bothered. Like it can explode at any time again. They do some interesting angles and shots that you can probably take to cover up some of the wandering parts of the script to keep you interested. They did a pretty good job then cause those parts while confusing are very nice to look at.
So Rampart, is it some great character study and powerful film? Maybe to some but not really. It is an decent film and not a total waste of time. The ending is not for everyone, it’s one of those ones where you like it or you hate. This is a film that you might not need go to the theater to see. They should’ve thought about releasing this ondemand as well as theatrical release. It’s ok but not a run and see effort.
Final Grade is C
Originally published on Reel Film News