Rampart Oren Moverman

Rampart Oren Moverman
In 1999, more than 70 Los Angeles police officers assigned to an anti-gang unit were accused of corruption offenses, including brutality, sexual assault, evidence tampering and narcotics trafficking. Oren Moverman's Rampart takes place during that scandal, using the true-life events to craft a disturbing character study. That character in question is (fictional) dirty cop Dave Brown (Woody Harrelson), an angry, impulsive man who seems to carry the weight of the 69 other bad men on his shoulders. Things go to hell after he's caught on videotape brutally beating a suspect in broad daylight, years after earning the unfortunate nickname "Date Rape" Dave for shooting a rapist mid-crime. At the time, he was branded a hero, but he has no real interest in serving justice, simply finding the best outlet for his pathological rage. The videotape pushes him over the edge, forcing him to own up to the kind of responsibility he feels is well beneath him. Harrelson's performance, which is easily his best in years, makes this uncomfortable material watchable. As in Natural Born Killers (1994), he finds a way to make antisocial, criminal behaviour seem almost reasonable. Most actors would simply make Brown look either "cool" or detestable, but Harrelson finds a middle ground. For that reason, Rampart is fascinating to watch even as its plot wanders aimlessly; we're never sure just how evil this cop really is, whether he's a man fouling the reputation of the LAPD or being held up as its scapegoat. Behind-the-scenes extras and commentary by Moverman reveal inspirations and fill in key background information without illuminating the moral questions of the story. Even with its flaws, Rampart is a powerful piece of work for intelligent adult audiences. (eOne)