Okay the first really violent downer movie of the week. This one stars Woody Harrelson and if none of his previous films has driven Cheers from your mind, this one will. He plays a really mean, racist, sexist, misogynist, violent, sociopathic, need I go on? Cop. It is set in 1999 in Los Angeles and Rampart is the district that came under investigation for a police force that was racist, sexist, misogynist, violent, sociopathic etc. It focuses on one cop who becomes a scapegoat for the force which is unfair on one level but not unfair on another. He is guilty. Harrelson is basically the major focus and is in every scene in a virtuoso performance. He may get a nomination for this and likely deserves it but this movie is ugly in lots of ways and gritty in story and film style. This may lose it the credit it deserves. At any rate it’s not just Harrelson. There is a great supporting cast including Sigourney Weaver, Harrelson’s character’s two ex-wives (Anne Heche and Cynthia Nixon) and two daughters are also wonderful as is Steve Buscemi. This movie is written by James Ellroy a very noir mystery writer and Clarke Peters of Treme and The Wire. Tough stuff. – watching this movie was like being a voyeur of a nasty nasty scene.
Side note: Everyone in this movie smokes. Actually everyone in almost every movie I have been to this year smokes. This is really a change and mostly completely unnecessary to the plot or the characters. I have started to wonder if in fact this is subtle product placement. No brand names or anything but hey! Everyone smokes! If you have seen Thank you for Not Smoking from a few years back you would definitely share my paranoid perception here.