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Harrelson puts in a fine performance as ‘Date Rape’ Dave Brown in this 1999 Los Angeles-set noir cop drama, but a lack of character growth or a real resolution to the film means Rampart ends up an unsatisfying study of a sad individual.

Harrelson dominates this drama as a cop who walks to the beat of his own drum. Rampart Precinct cop and Vietnam veteran Brown sees himself as doing “the people’s dirty work”, continually blurring the lines between right and wrong to maintain his preferred action-hero state of mind on the streets of LA.

His world view is drenched in arrogance, sexism, homophobia, racism, misanthropy and aggression, but he’s at times likeable and suprisingly articulate. In the aftermath of being caught on tape beating a suspect, Brown has the chance to evaluate himself, but instead dons a blanket of self-denial and blame.

As the convenient world he has built (completed by living with two ex-wives who are sisters) crumbles, Brown continues digging a deeper hole, ignoring several more chances to grow even slightly. It’s this continued inability to progress that leaves the viewer wondering, “What’s the point of all this?” 

Despite a quality supporting cast featuring Anne Heche, Ice Cube and Steve Buscemi, Rampart’s frustrating, never-ending cynicism leaves the viewer emotionally cold, but it’s still worth a watch for Harrelson’s performance – perhaps his best big screen role yet.

Words: Jahn Vannisselroy

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster, Sigourney Weaver | 15 | 108mins

Good for: Fans of Training Day and Bad Lieutenant - Port Of Call: New Orleans


Starring: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds | TBC | 117mins

Denzel Washington stars as a CIA agent turned international crime boss forced to hide out in Ryan Reynolds’ safe house to avoid the hitmen who want to shoot holes through his treacherous double-crossing body. It’s the Hollywood debut from Swedish filmmaker Daniel Espinosa, so he’ll be looking to make a name for himself with this action-thriller flick.



Film reviews: Rampart and Safe House
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