Jun 102012


From writer-director Oren Moverman (The Messenger), comes Rampart, a story about a one of the last remaining dirty cops from the 1990s, and his struggle to keep his job and his family together. Check the review out after the jump.

I want to say straight off that I really disliked this film – it was directionless and without any real forward momentum; and although it is a character-driven story, the main character is uninteresting and without any redeeming qualities. I was so bored that I actually drifted off to sleep for a few minutes! Being bored-to-sleep isn’t something that ever happens to me, but there was absolutely nothing to keep me invested in this film.

David Douglas Brown (Woody Harrelson) is a dirty cop working out of the infamous Rampart Unit of the LAPD police force. It’s 1999 and the Rampart Unit have been under investigation for widespread corruption and serious misconduct – the day of the dirty cop is  coming to the end. David sees himself as the last of the true cops – he doesn’t care about the rules, and he dishes out justice in the way which he sees fit. With pressure mounting on the unit to clean up their ways, David is forced to face the consequences of his actions throughout his immoral career. He also has trouble at home with his wife and ex-wife (who are sisters) wanting him out of their house – David must fight to overcome his past indiscretions, while also fighting to keep his dysfunctional family together.


The main problem with this film is absolutely nothing happens. We learn within the first 10 minutes that David is a dirty cop, a womaniser, an all-round jerk, and he is proud of all of it – there is simply nothing to like about him. The audience is led to believe that the film will be a classic tale of redemption, or one where someone realises their wrongs and sets about changing their ways. This is not the case at all. David doesn’t seem to learn anything in this film, and if anything he becomes a greater douche-bag as the film goes on. There is zero character development – quite simply the audience are asked to watch David for 107 minutes, and they are given nothing in return. This film is aimless – little more than a series of scenes edited together without any real plot or direction.

While Harrleson does a fine job, his performance isn’t enough to save the character from being dull and unlikable. A series of quality actors such as Ben Foster, Sigourney Weaver, and Steve Buscemi show up in small roles that are both two-dimensional, and add absolutely nothing to the story. In fact, this film is littered with vapid characters that have no depth and absolutely no purpose – it is very odd. The haphazard editing and messy photography add to the overall feeling that this film is nothing more than an ill-conceived rush-job.

Overall, Rampart was a directionless mess of a film that doesn’t have anything to say. Steer well clear of this one.


The Facts

Director: Oren Moverman
Writer(s): James Ellroy, Oren Moverman
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Robin Wright, Sigourney Weaver, Steve Buscemi
Country: USA
Runtime: 107 minutes
Release date(s): Australia & New Zealand: No date set; USA: February 10 2012 (limited)