In a nutshell: The fine art of police brutality
Popcorn rating: 3.5/5
Dave Brown has a god complex. The Los Angeles veteran police officer charges his patrol car towards gangs just for the joy of watching them scatter, beats suspects on a whim and walks in and out of his family’s lives.
It is unclear whether Brown (Woody Harrelson) has been corrupted by his badge or has deliberately sought out a career to give himself ultimate control. But in Rampart, an extremely intimate portrait of a man on the edge, you see his fall from grace in the midst of the 1990s crusade to root out corrupt cops in LA.
In a superb performance by Harrelson, Brown is the ‘last of the renegade cops’ who uses his knowledge of police work and the legal system to weave himself out of trouble time and again. When he is caught on camera viciously beating a suspect who crashes into his car – or ‘doing the people’s dirty work’ as he sees it – his carefully constructed world begins to crumble.
Brown soon finds himself in the centre of a huge scandal and in the crosshair of those looking for revenge. And as he goes deeper down the rabbit hole, he discovers that nothing is what it seems.
Israeli director Oren Moverman has put together an incredibly well crafted and realistic film and that is what makes it so painful and heartbreaking. Moverman pulls no punches as you see Brown gradually alienate everyone around him, even his daughters, as the witch hunt intensifies for his badge.
Rampart makes for difficult but ultimately rewarding viewing and is boosted by a top cast which includes Sigourney Weaver and Steve Buscemi.
Reviewer: David Morgan