While visiting the Renoir Cinema this week, the film I got to see was Rampart. A gritty film from Los Angeles that tells the tale of a dirty cop getting set-up by his own Police Department. This film has received a lot of mixed reviews, and really, I do not like to review films. That is not my job, I like to watch them and make them.
So, just like last month’s film Tyrannosaur, Rampart focuses on a local tough nut. In this case, starring Woody Harrelson as cop Dave Brown. THe film’s directional style is unique for a mainstream film, bordering more on the experimental side of things. Shifting camera angles, hand held moments and the use of close-ups gives the film more of a documentary feel rather than a feature film. And in my opinion, for the most part, it works for me. There are only a couple of times (most notably in the scene with Steve Buscemi) where it annoys me. The only technical part of the film I had a beef with was during one of the club scenes, where it just grated into my ears. Nope, that was too experimental for me.
One thing to note, the story is not a simple linear plot. And there is a lot of slang. English maybe my first language, but I only got some 85% of the film. The rest screwed with my head, I just could not understand it. This film made the Glaswegian accent seem easy 😉
But you know what. You’ve seen the trailer. Nobody went to this film for the stellar cast, the unrealistic plot line, the big names behind the camera or the visuals. They went because Woody Harrelson is bloody awesome! I think Woody is a great actor (everything from Cheers to Natural Born Killers), but in this film, he is just brilliant. The man oozes with the character and you really believe in him. His moments of joy, sadness, his sadistic nature, his confusion, his love for his (dysfunctional) family, everything lights up on the screen when Wody comes into view. If you think he is mesmerising in the trailer, then throughout the film, Harrelson captivates.
Rampart may not be the best film I have seen, but the performance of Woody Harrelson is certainly one of the greatest I have seen in one hell of a long time. Throughout the film jarring effects, you simply ignore it, as you want to see what happens to Woody Harrelson’s character – Dave Brown. And, this is the mark of the central role. You actually begin to care for the character. Even though, he is one viscous guy, there is a part of you that wants him to win. And this is where the supporting cast come in. It seems like such a perfect ensemble piece, everyone is exactly in place, where they need to be. It is like watching a brilliant piece of theatre, that is how captivating Rapart’s performers are.
As I have mentioned, this may not be the film for everyone, but if you are a fan of great acting, then I cannot recommend it enough to you. Get it, watch it, anyway you can. Just to watch great acting, if nothing else. And a good movie to see on my continuing mission around London’s Repertory Cinemas…