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Los Angeles, 1999 - Officer Dave Brown (Harrelson) is a Vietnam vet and a Rampart Precinct cop, dedicated to doing "the people's dirty work" and asserting his own code of justice, often blurring the l... read more read more...ines between right and wrong to maintain his action-hero state of mind. When he gets caught on tape beating a suspect, he finds himself in a personal and emotional downward spiral as the consequences of his past sins and his refusal to change his ways in light of a department-wide corruption scandal seal his fate. -- (C) Official Site

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138 critics

R, 1 hr. 47 min.

Directed by: Oren Moverman

Release Date: February 10, 2012

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DVD Release Date: May 15, 2012

Stats: 1,062 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (1,062)


  • December 30, 2012
    'Rampart'. A fine lesson in self-destruction that meandered too often between some nice uncomfortable moments.
  • September 20, 2012
    Another Bad Cop Movie played by no better actor then Woody Harrelso, don't think he had to act to hard to fit this role. Nothing outstanding here, really a dissapointment. 3 Stars 8-3-12
  • September 4, 2012
    Woody Harrelson puts in a brilliant performance and is backed up by an impressive cast. It's filmed well and I enjoyed it but there is such a huge hole in the story that you can't help but ask 'Is that it?'. Did they hire the caretaker to do the editing by mistake? There is enoug... read moreh here for me to recommend it but I feel for actors like Harrelson who give it their all and get let down in the post production.
  • July 19, 2012
    Dave Brown: I don't cheat on my taxes... you can't cheat on something you never committed to.á

    "The Most Corrupt Cop You've Ever Seen On Screen."

    Rampart is a movie like many others. It's one of those dirty cop movies like Bad Lieutenant, that has been touched by many filmmaker... read mores for years and years from Werner Herzog to Don Siegel. Rampart doesn't do too much to distance itself from other films of its kind either. It seems perfectly content being just another character study of dirty, corrupt, violent, alcoholic, womanizing cop that has alienated his family with his misdeeds and bad publicity. With all that said, it really isn't a bad movie. It's just a familiar one that clings to Woody Harrelson and let's him make or break the movie. So it is a good thing that Harrelson was more than just excellent as Dave Brown, the most corrupt cop you've ever seen.

    Dave Brown is a cop for the Rampart precinct in Los Angeles. Before becoming a cop, he fought in Vietnam and we get the feeling throughout that his tour of duty there fucked him up. He has two daughters that come from two different women, that just happen to be sisters. He's a womanizer going to bars to pick up women with low self esteems that would allow a guy like Brown to penetrate them. He's also facing legal actions as he deals with questioning over a shooting that he was involved in. Overall this plot is pretty tired, but it is uplifted by a phenomenal actor who is at the top of his game.

    Oren Moverman takes a tiny step down after his near masterpiece, The Messenger. He uses both Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster(in a smaller role) again in Rampart. Harrelson brings it just like he did in The Messenger, but the overall film doesn't touch The Messenger. Moverman definitely has an eye for camera work and has a slick style that he likes to use. His films are engaging, but he could have used a little more substance out of this one.á

    This is a worthwhile movie though, no matter how unoriginal it all is. Seeing Harrelson as Dave Brown is all I really needed. It just would have been nice if I was given anything more than that. It has a respectable cast and has fine direction. It isn't going to blow you away by any means, but it has its impressive elements. I wouldn't tell anyone to seek this movie out, but if you get the opportunity to watch it; give it a look.á
  • July 12, 2012
    Stop me if you've heard this one before. A corrupt L.A. cop (Woody Harrelson) makes bad choices, alienated and frightens his family, and looks to be on the way out as a career of taking the law into his own hands is at long last catching up with him. Yeah, you probably stopped me... read more after the third word in that sentence. This dour character-study showcases Harrelson nicely as a cocksure cop who's so self-destructive and paranoid that he pushes everyone away. Co-written and directed by Oren Moverman, who made the terrific and searing drama The Messenger, this movie just about turns into high-gloss navel-gazing. The plot is quite loose and there's very little traction. We get to see scene after scene of Harrelson behaving badly or violent, but what does it all add up to? We already know he's a bad cop tortured by his own sins and the demands of the job. In a way, there's an intriguing connection between law enforcement and soldiers who are often called to bear incredible burdens and just deal with it, forgotten by a public complacent with being safe. But really this movie is just one long trip with an angry man who keeps everyone, including the audience, pushed away. He's complex but I can't say we ever got to know him better. The film is well acted with plenty of recognizable stars, but why should I care? The central message about the prevailing influence of corruption is a bit heavy-handed as well; at one point Harreslon's wife says, "You made us dirty." Rampart is a disappointing venture for Moverman despite Harrelson's best efforts. In the end, when you're stuck with a dirty cop he better be worth the time.

    Nate's Grade: C
  • July 8, 2012
    Considering that I loved Oren Moverman's previous film The Messenger, and the fact that this film is co-written by acclaimed crime author James Ellroy (the guy who wrote L.A. Confidential, the film adaptation of which is one of the best films ever), this film is quite a disappoin... read moretment. It's really lackluster and unenvolving.

    I'm fine with it being gritty and low budget, but the hand-held docu style camera work stood out for me, and I thought it was a little unnecessary. The plot follows old school Rampart cop and Vietnam vet Dave Brown as he patrols the mean streets of late 90s Los Angeles, dispensing his own brand of street justice, being the dirty cop whose does the dity work of the people. I'm fine with character studies about corrupt cops with unshakeable world views who are textbook Archie Bunker types (although Dave is actually scary and not at all funny), but it's been done before, and this film doesn't offer an interesting or fresh take on things.

    Also, given how the film is set during the Rampart scandals where police corrption really came under scrutiny, the film doesn't do quite as much as it could. Instead, it just crusies around Taxi Driver style, but doesn't do anything all that thoguht provoking or engaging, and just kinda ends without anything really being accomplished.

    I should really hate this film and dock it more for this sort of thing, but I'm havign a hard time, mostly because, despite the problems, the film still manages to deliver a stellar performance from Woody Harrelson as Dave. He's a great actor, yes, and this is one of his grittiest and meatiest roles. It's just kidna a bummer that the script and direction are so by the numbers. Maybe they were jsut expecting the character to carry the proceedings. Sometimes that sort of thing does work, and plot isn't all that necessary. But here, nothing is quite fleshed out enough for that to happen.

    There's some other major names here, like Sigourneyt Weaver, Robin Wright, Ice Cube, Ned Beatty, Anne Heche, Cynthia Nixon, Steve Buscemi, and Ben Foster, and, while they all show up and do decently enough, none of them are really given all that much to do, so all of their combined talents just get kinda wasted and their appearances seem rather pointless.

    I really wanted to like, if not love this film. But, it's just so underwhelming and unsatisfying that what good parts there are get overshadowed and dampened by all the rest. And, I can't help but feel like someone just wasn't trying, perhaps on purpose. Or maybe I'm wrong and this is just a sophmore slump sort of thing?

    Regardless, this would be a lot worse and far less watchable if not for Harrelson being so hypnotic. Even then, this is still a rather blah misfire.
  • June 1, 2012
    Cast: Woody Harrelson, Ned Beatty, Francis Capra, Ben Foster, Anne Heche, Ice Cube, Brie Larson, Audra McDonald, Cynthia Nixon, Sigourney Weaver, Robert Wisdom, Robin Wright, Steve Buscemi, Jon Bernthal, Jon Foster, Stella Schnabel

    Director: Oren Moverman

    Summary: Dave Bro... read morewn is a dirty cop with a mile-wide mean streak. As he roams the streets meting out "justice," the LAPD sinks into a corruption scandal. The countdown to Brown's judgment is on in this fact-based film co-written by crime novelist James Ellroy.

    My Thoughts: "There is a lot of players in this film. A variety of good talent. That is the best part of the movie is the performances. The performances outshine the story. It's not your usual cop story either. There isn't a lot of action, barely actually. This is no doubt a cop drama.The film revolves around a shady police officer, Dave Brown, who is being investigated for the murder of two, and the filmed beating of one. He justifies the things he has done by claiming he only killed the bad guys, only the bad ones. Brown's home life is just as much as a mess as his work life is. One daughter old enough to see her father for what he is and a younger one who is just learning who he is. It's sad when it comes to his daughter's. The anger the oldest one feels and the confusion by the youngest really pulls at your heart making you feel bad for them. Brown feels very much safe standing behind his badge that it is kinda satisfying watching a corrupt cop spiral down so quickly.
    Woody Harrelson is a great actor and really brings life to this character. A great performance by him and everyone else in this film. A very talented cast."
  • May 26, 2012
    A memerizing, vivid, tense and utterly shocking piece of film. A compelling, complex and terrific movie. A triumph, it`s a pure knockout of a thriller that will have you engaged till the very last frame. An unforgettable and breakingtaking picture with a career defining perfroman... read morece from Harrelson. Woodly Harrelson gives commanding and powerful performance, a real tour de force. He plays the most corrupt cop you have ever seen on the screem and gives it his all. Harrelson give his most Oscar worthy work ever. Director, Oren Moverman crafts an intense, stylish and utterly hard-boiled portrait. The all-star cast deliver huge in this film no matter how small the roles are. It`s more realistic, intense and compelling than Training Day. One of the most eye-opening police drama`s ever made.
  • May 23, 2012
    "L.A. Confidential" was an exceptional adaptation of hard-boiled, crime writer James Ellroy's novel. Most other adaptations tend to be flawed. "Dark Blue", "The Black Dahlia" and "Street Kings" had decent material but didn't grip as well as they should have. This is another that ... read moresuffers from a similar problem.
    In 1999, the Rampart division of the Los Angeles Police Force is rife with corruption. Amongst, the main culprits is 'Date Rape' Dave Brown (Woody Harrelson). He's a cop that plays by his own rules and lives by an old-school code. His reputation precedes him and is heightened even further when he's caught on video assaulting a driver who crashes into him. To try and thwart the attention of the media and ever increasing public frustration, his superiors suggest retirement. Dave refuses and attempts a legal case but it only draws him deeper into his murky past.
    Three years previously, Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster and Steve Buscemi were all involved in Oren Moverman's brilliant directorial debut "The Messenger". They all assemble again for this but where Moverman showed a skilful subtlety in his debut, he decides to get a bit flashy with this one. That's his first mistake. He teases a powerful performance from Harrelson - like he did before - but he doesn't utilise Foster or Buscemi the way he should. That's his second mistake. And as if that's not enough, he has James Ellroy himself, co-writing the screenplay with him, yet the focus is on one character - rather than tapping into Ellroy's abilities in convoluted narrative arcs. Three strikes and you're out Oren. That being said though, the character of Dave Brown and Harrelson's strong central performance provide enough powerful material to hold your interest. There's a real intensity to the man and Harrelson delivers the perfect balance of a man teetering on the brink of the immorality. He received an Oscar nomination for "The Messenger" but I actually think this is a better performance. Moverman doesn't do him any favours though. He employs a flamboyant handheld approach that's so distracting that is verges on awful and it detracts from the drama. A good director shouldn't be noticed before his performers. Speaking of which, the supporting cast is impressively assembled but few get any substantial screen time, leaving the descent of Dave Brown the film's main focus, much in the same way as Harvey Keitel's "Bad Lieutenant". Where that film succeeded though was in having the courage of it's convictions. This threatens to but draws to a less than satisfactory conclusion.
    If it wasn't for Harrelson, this film wouldn't have worked as well as it does. Moverman rightly received plaudits for his debut but he has gotten a bit ahead of himself here. Hopefully he'll learn his lesson for next time.
  • May 9, 2012
    I guess there was a time when the country bumpkin Woody Boyd on the TV show Cheers seemed like just an extension of the actor's own persona. I mean c'mon, they even had the same first name! However since leaving that role in 1993 he's played a serial killer (Natural Born Killers)... read more, a pornographer (The People vs. Larry Flynt ) and a bounty hunter (No Country for Old Men). As that na´ve but lovable portrayal fades from memory, each miscreant seems less and less like a stretch. Depressing, oppressive and bleak, there's little point to the film other than as a character study. But what a character study! Harrelson's quietly vicious portrayal really gets under your skin. He is the movie and without him, this virtually plotless account would've been meaningless. Drama masquerading as art, arbitrarily ends with an ambiguous non-ending. The whole seemingly improvised production adds up to very little. It's a testament to Harrelson's memorably unlikable portrayal that we remain interested in his story. Unfortunately without a point of view, commentary or resolution, the production remains a fascinating disappointment.

Critic Reviews


Tom Long
March 9, 2012
Tom Long, Detroit News

Where's it all go? Nowhere, really, just down a dirty, disappointing hole. Harrelson deserved better. Full Review

Moira MacDonald
March 1, 2012
Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times

It's a remarkably compelling film. Full Review

Bill Goodykoontz
March 1, 2012
Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic

Brown is a sick man, but Harrelson makes him so interesting, so charismatic, so ... watchable, that you can't look away, even if his actions make you want to (and they will). Full Review

Ann Hornaday
February 23, 2012
Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

"Rampart" doesn't tell a coherent story as much as swirl the drain with Dave, as his increasingly desperate efforts to save himself simply result in a cascade of self-inflicted wounds. Full Review

Peter Howell
February 23, 2012
Peter Howell, Toronto Star

This isn't your average out-of-control character, and Harrelson has to work against a narrowly defined screenplay that is short on specifics. Full Review

Tom Huddleston
February 21, 2012
Tom Huddleston, Time Out

Sure to provoke furious reactions in those unwilling to succumb to its mood of reckless abandon. But for those who can, this feverish slice of LA noir is set to be one of the purest cinematic pleasure... Full Review

Mick LaSalle
February 16, 2012
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

Director Oren Moverman understands that Woody Harrelson is a real actor and makes movies to prove it. Full Review

Ty Burr
February 16, 2012
Ty Burr, Boston Globe

Something to see and little to remember, an acrid character study undone by narrative implausibilities and its own lack of purpose. Full Review

Michael Phillips
February 16, 2012
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

"Rampart" patrols some familiar streets, but this jarringly intimate study of a dirty Los Angeles cop sliding, crazily, down the drain has a distinctive new-cliche smell, pungent and alive. Full Review

Roger Ebert
February 16, 2012
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Harrelson is an ideal actor for the role. Especially in tensely wound-up movies like this, he implies that he's looking at everything and then watching himself looking. Full Review

Critic ratings and reviews powered by RottenTomatoes.com

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Facts


    • Catherine: David Douglas Brown, you are nothing but a misanthrope.
    • Dave Brown: Your bun boy honked a Vice Cop at the Pink Parrot last night. He's got a Parole Hold so no bail. Lorazepam and Phenobarb and it all goes away.
    • Dave Brown: Up this time. [talking to pharmacist] And something to make it hard. [goofy smile]
    • Dave Brown: But while you're playing gum shoe, bear in mind that I am not a racist. Fact is, I have all people equally. And if it helps, I've slept with some of your people. you want to be mad at someone, try Edgar J. Hoover. He was a racist. Or the Founding Fathers, all slave owners. Me, I'm just doing my job.
    • Dave Brown: You are the most beautiful woman I've ever seen... in this bar.
    • Dave Brown: The fact is, I hate all people... equally.

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