Sunday, 26 February 2012

Review - Rampart (2012 - Dir. Oren Moverman)

This sounds like a great idea for a film: Woody Harrelson as a tough/brutal LA cop, described by his own daughter as a bigot, racist, sexist, womaniser and misanthrope (had to look that last one up). What could be better?

And at the start everything is as you'd expect. Dave Brown (Harrelson) breaks in a rookie cop by showing her some of his special moves. It's funny. Then, after Dave gets caught on camera 'apprehending' a perp who just crashed into the side of his car, it all gets very dull and grim.

The script is to blame as it doesn't seem to go anywhere. As things spiral out of control they never get too bad. Dave has a minor descent into drugs and visits a specialist club for people who like to swing and play on roundabouts and stuff. Well, maybe not the roundabout bit. Although there was was an interesting revolving table with a hole cut in the middle on Eurotrash once. Ahem, let's move on. Where was I? Oh yeah, his descent. In Requiem for a Dream everything goes really pear-shaped for the three main characters. Rampart doesn't even approach this. It doesn't even get to apple-shaped.

The humour pretty much disappears after the initial section and I came out of the cinema with a general air of depression. Maybe the point is that Dave doesn't develop as a character or learn anything over the course of the film. He stays just as bigoted and tries to worm his way out of trouble. It doesn't make a satisfying experience though. I went straight home and watched an episode of Bleach (my chosen anime guaranteed to cheer me up after a bleak experience). 

Documentary style camera work supposedly pulls you into a film and enhances the feeling of realism. Here, it just irritates and pushes you out of the film. The director clearly has a case of dannybolyism

The acting is in no way to blame. Harrelson is genuinely worrying in his beliefs, and his attitude to women has to be seen to be believed. Post rumpy-pumpy he has a smoke, covers his eyes with a pillow and ignores his partner. Classy. He knows how to treat the ladies. Harrelson is backed up by some top talent from some top films: Sigourney Weaver (Alien), Steve Buscemi (Fargo), Ned Beatty (Deliverance), Ice Cube (erm, Trespass?), Tim Russ (Voyager?) and Anne Heche (oh, I give up). 

Admittedly, I went into this expecting something different. Reflecting on the overall film experience I still can't say I'm very impressed. Watch it if you'd just had a full litre bottle of Lucozade and you've gone a bit giddy. This will knock that happy edge off your mood.

If you like this you could also try:
Requiem for a Dream, Bad Lieutenant.

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