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Movie Review: Rampart

Alternate Title: Bad Cop, Bad Cop

Story: I hated this film. It was difficult to follow, painfully slow and shot almost exclusively at night or in a dark room. The use of a shaky hand-held camera did nothing to the aesthetic. When there was dialog, it was hard to hear because there was always pulsating music or ambient noise. It could have used subtitles. Do you want more? The close-ups were at pore level. I was sitting in the last row of the theater and wanted to move further back.

Need more? The script, what there was of it, was mystifying. This I know - bad cop Dave (also known as Date Rape Dave) was a cop on the edge and spiraling downward. Dave was caught on video tape brutally beating a civilian. Was it a set up? Was an already corrupt police department (see trivia below) using Dave's raging actions to deflect the news media?

Officer Dave is an angry man. He married two sisters and has a daughter by each of them. He is a control freak that is out of control. He drinks, he takes drugs, he is a sexaholic and declares he is not a racist - but hates everyone equally.

So does this film directed by Oren Moverman and written by James Ellroy and Mr. Moverman have any redeeming value? If you are a fan of Woody Harrelson and liked him in Natural Born Killers and The Messenger - then you will like him here. Otherwise, stay home.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dswL5nsEYiY

Acting: Woody Harrelson as Dave Brown was someone you would not want to ever meet. If that is appealing - he was good. Robin Wright as Linda Fentress was curious. I did not know who she was or what she was doing in the film. Sigourney Weaver as Joan Confrey looked frightened to be in this film., Ice Cube as Kyle Timkins was fine as was Ned Beatty as Hartshorn. Steve Buscemi as Bill Blago had a cameo. Cynthia Nixon ( as wife #1 Barbara and Anne Heche as wife #2 Catherine were okay.

Predilection: None

Trivia: Owen Moverman's first film, The Messenger, also starred Woody Harrelson. Stella Schnabel (appears early on as his female partner) is the daughter of Julian Schnabel and his first wife Jacqueline. Woody Harrelson's career began in New York theatre as an understudy in Neil Simon's "Biloxi Blues". Within months, he was cast as Woody on the hit TV series, "Cheers" (1982).

The Rampart scandal refers to widespread corruption in the Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums (or CRASH) anti-gang unit of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Rampart Division in the late 1990s. More than 70 police officers in the CRASH unit were implicated in misconduct, making it one of the most widespread cases of documented police misconduct in United States history. The convicted offenses include unprovoked shootings, unprovoked beatings, planting of evidence, framing of suspects, stealing and dealing narcotics, bank robbery, perjury, and covering up evidence of these activities.

Critters: Pitbulls

Food: Tacos, fried, spaghetti, broccoli, lots of booze.

Sex Spectrum: Yes - there are plenty of sex scenes. Our bad cop was very busy day and night.

Soundtrack: Loud and pulsatingly annoying.

Opening Titles: All titles are at the end.

Visual Art: Most of the film takes place at night or in a darkened room. It was hard to see much of anything.

Theater Audience: Crowded for opening weekend. Mostly an older AARP crowd.

Weather: Not a factor

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 2 - the lead character is a loose cannon.

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout but was often confused.

Predictability Level: Moderate

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Woody Harrelson might get a nod from the Academy. They like these sort of roles.

Big Screen or Rental: Go for the big screen if you are going to see it.

Length: Under two hours