RAMPART is a cop drama that frustrates me. It
is a slow moving and sometimes even boring movie. It focuses too much on building the character of "Rape Date" Dave
Brown (a nickname he got due to rumors he killed a rapist who was acquitted by the courts) instead of finding a really compelling
story to ground the character in. The film takes place in 1999 Los Angeles after the Rampart police scandal.
Dave Brown works in the Rampart division and his life starts going downhill after a person captures on video of Dave beating
a person (after that person's car crashes into Dave's police car). Dave admits no guilt and doesn't want to atone for
his crimes because he is a cop that will never change his brutal police methods or his womanizing ways (he gets involved with
a defense attorney while living in an unusual living situation with his kids, wife, and ex-wife). The three things
that RAMPART has going for it are the actors involved and their acting, the over-saturated and high contrast look of the Alexa
camera, and showing Los Angeles in a different way from many of the other films that have shot in LA over 100 years.
I wish I could say the script from James Ellroy and co-writer/ director Oren Moverman. Woody Harrelson is excellent
as Dave Brown, but again his character would have been better served with a more refined script that engaged me. The
central character has no moral center to ground him and I wish they have focused more on heightening the damage Dave's actions
cause and give us (the audience) a story that doesn't make me want to fast forward through parts of it (I'm guilty of fast
forwarding through slow parts of the movie and I still could follow the story).
The audio commentary with Director Oren Moverman
and his Director of Cinematography Bobby Bukowski mention a complete subplot they excised from the film (and I wonder
why they didn't include them as deleted scenes- they shouldn't have mentioned them if they didn't want to include the scenes).
They also discuss the locations used, the production design, and shooting on the Alexa.
A thirty minute Behind-The-Scenes
featurette is better than your usual behind-the-scenes featurette as interviews with the cast and crew talk about the making
of the film including a little butt kissing of how great Oren Moverman is to work with.
Rounding out the
extras are the theatrical trailer for RAMPART and previews for other films from Millennium Films.
FINAL ANALYSIS: RAMPART
has great acting and incredible cinematography only to be letdown by a weak script.
this review is (c)5-22-2012
David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org