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Rampart

Year: 2011
Production Co: Lightstream Pictures
Director: Oren Moverman
Writer: Oren Moverman
Cast: Woody Harrelson, Joe Bernthal, Ben Foster, Ice Cube, Robin Wright, Anne Heche, Cynthia Nixon, Steve Buscemi

First, a personal note. This movie was released the week I moved to Los Angeles. As far as I knew it was about a downtown neighbourhood that was the subject of a corruption scandal involving police violence, including the shooting deaths of civilians. I had a great time my first few weeks watching people's faces fall when I told them I'd moved to the area depicted in the film.

I didn't get to see it until about six months later, and the very first scene gave me a huge charge as LAPD officer Doug Brown (Harrelson) stands with two colleagues eating burgers and fries at Tommys – right at the end of my street.

Unfortunately the rest of the film went downhill from there. Firstly it wasn't about the Rampart scandal from the late 90s that resulted in the closure and disbanding of an entire police precinct at all. By the time we meet renegade cop and Vietnam vet Doug, the scandal is past and the department is still trying to extricate itself from the quagmire.

It's about the microcosm of scandal that surrounds Doug as he's caught on video beating a perpetrator who runs into his car and the subsequent falling apart of his life.

Doug isn't a nice person anyway, but I felt like I was always waiting to get to know him, whether he was a very smart political operator or a violent hillbilly. His family dissolves around him and Doug finds himself under suspicion of another murder when he shoots a robber who's busted up the underground card game Doug himself was going to rob for money.

His life spirals out of control and he enters a rapid descent which he's still in the grip of when the movie suddenly ends. There's no real beginning, middle or end and even though it's well shot and has a good look and a fantastic cast, I never got to know the people and so didn't really care what they were doing.

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