RAMPART

OREN MOVERMAN

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Woody Harrelson delivers a tour-de-force performance as the L.A.P.D.’s rottenest apple in this confrontational study of a moral monster. Gaunt, tightly-wound and always full-on, this self-styled soldier for justice wields his baton and pistol where he feels justice is too meek to tread, but when his excesses are caught on video, the lawyers start circling. Rampart is actually the name of a real-life L.A. police station embroiled in controversy over the violent conduct of its anti-gang unit in the late 1990s, but The Messenger director Oren Moverman and his co-writer James Ellroy – long-time literary chronicler of the city’s dark underside and author of L.A. Confidential – single out a determined individual whose old-school exploits run against the grain of the post-Rodney King landscape. Not that the film is judgmental, instead laying out a hellish Angelino hinterland and letting Harrelson confront the awful legacy of his past decisions. There’s impeccable support too from steely police lawyer Sigourney Weaver and sinister retiree Ned Beatty.  (Notes by Trevor Johnston.) 

108 minutes, U.S.A., 2011, Colour, Anamorphic, Dolby Digital Stereo, 35mm

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