Saturday, December 10, 2011


Dave Brown is LAPD's worst nightmare, not only a brutal racist, but also possessing a skilled legal acumen to boot. However, when he is goaded into attacking a suspect and caught on camera, the department sees this as an opportunity to shift the blame from the confounding Rampart scandal of the late 90s. As Dave fights the investigation and his pending removal from duty, he continues to engage in destructive behavior that not only puts himself but also his oddly assorted family in turmoil. "Rampart" is the sophomore outing from "Oren Moverman" following "The Messenger" which also starred Woody Harrleson and Ben Foster (who appears here in bit part), and like that movie, its founded on an engaging lead performance while the plotting takes second fiddle. Not only is the plot not immersing, but it doesn't know what it wants to say or who it wants its lead character to be. Although Woody plays the part with ferocity, the character also lacks credibility and I was shaking my head in disapproval he spouts off legal statutes to defend his brutish behavior. Another (lesser) element that hurts the film is well is the big name casting of small parts. In addition to being distracted by Ben Foster as a scheming crippled junkie, we are further diverted by the likes of Steve Buscemi, Ice Cube, and Ned Beatty who are placed in roles they shouldn't have been called on to play. "Rampart" can be chalked up to just another LA police corruption picture, which is made all the more disappointing by the fact that it was cowritten by James Ellroy, who was the author of one of the best in the genre in "L.A. Confindential".