7. Rampart (B+)
: Woody Harrelson is the reason to see this movie. He plays Officer Dave Brown, of the LAPD, and he goes from being tender to explosive and back again multiple times. Is his character a racist, a misogynist, and a misanthrope? Does he hate, as the character snidely suggests, "everybody equally?" Is he simply going insane, paranoid of everyone who crosses his path, as the result of a crumbling personal life or perhaps military service in Vietnam thirty years prior? The film doesn't have a tidy answer to any of these questions, which is what makes Harrelson so watchable.
Praise must also go to director Oren Moverman and cinematographer Bobby Bukowski. The film's innovative use of jump cuts, vivid color, and blinding light puts you right in the head of Brown, and go above and beyond what must have been on the page. Though, to be fair, the screenplay was co-written by novelist James Ellroy and Moverman, so it's not too shabby, either.
What this film isn't
is a docudrama about the Rampart scandal that rocked the Los Angeles Police Department in 1999. Though it plays out in the background, there's actually very little information about those events that even end up in the movie.
The conclusion feels a little fragmented, though. This fits with the fragmented nature of the rest of the movie, but it left me a little cold. It seems reaching for ambiguity when there is none -- Brown is almost certainly going to jail, and we've already seen that he doesn't have the will to commit suicide.
Theatres: 1 (+1)
Home Video: 5