Rampart (film)

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This article is about Rampart (film). For other uses, see Rampart.
Rampart
Rampart Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Oren Moverman
Produced by Michael DeFranco
Ben Foster
Lawrence Inglee
Ken Kao
Clark Peterson
Screenplay by James Ellroy
Oren Moverman
Story by James Ellroy
Starring
Music by Dickon Hinchliffe
Cinematography Bobby Bukowski
Edited by Jay Rabinowitz
Production
company
Amalgam Features
Distributed by Millennium Entertainment
Release dates
  • September 10, 2011 (2011-09-10) (TIFF)
  • February 10, 2012 (2012-02-10) (United States)
Running time 108 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1,567,905[1]

Rampart is a drama film released in 2011. Directed by Oren Moverman and co-written by Moverman and James Ellroy, the film stars Woody Harrelson.[2][3] In the midst of the fallout from the Rampart scandal of the 1990s, dirty LAPD veteran Dave Brown is forced to face up to the consequences of his wayward career. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 10, 2011.[4][5]

Plot[edit]

Officer Dave Brown (Harrelson) has two ex-wives who are sisters (Anne Heche and Cynthia Nixon), and he cheated on both. Brown has a daughter from each marriage which creates conflict at home. Dave also has contentious relationships with his children. However, the film starts with his other home, which is the beat. Dave patrols streets occupied by gangs, and he creates problems for himself with increasing severity. Dave forcibly obtains a confession out of a convenience store thief. Later he is caught on tape beating someone almost to death. The beating is still playing on television when he's involved in a suspicious shooting. These incidents get Dave in trouble with an already beleaguered police department, and he faces either sanctions or forced retirement. Dave tries to talk his way out of trouble with an assistant district attorney (Sigourney Weaver). Dave realizes that his superiors are less concerned about what he has done but more concerned about the predicament he has created by getting caught.[6][7]

Cast[edit]

Marketing[edit]

The marketing team behind Rampart posted controversial posters in several major U.S. cities before the movie was released showing Woody Harrelson’s character, Officer Dave Brown, beating a man with a night stick. The posters simply stated “I WORK FOR YOU” and were meant to look like street art posters. Oren Moverman, the director of Rampart, said one of the producers had been "searching for an image that would be thought-provoking and challenging, not an indictment of a cop but rather a communal approach to the idea of policing, the idea that maybe when cops do bad things it’s more of a reflection of society and what it is willing to tolerate rather than the fault of one bad apple or an institutional problem. If they work for us, could it be they ARE us?" [8]

Woody Harrelson conducted several interviews to promote the film. In one interview with "The Playlist," Harrelson indicated "I had a period where I saw an early cut of the movie and didn't go for it, mainly because it was so different from the script and what we shot." Harrelson also lost significant weight to prepare for the role. During the same interview, he stated "I lost 30 pounds and a part of it was that I felt like he would have this relationship to food which is very similar to his relationship with women." Harrelson's take on the character was the following: "He can't really accept love, and if the food were representative of love. It's his inability to take that affection and nourishment." He went on to say about the character he played, "I would say if one emotion that is most at play with Dave Brown it would be paranoia. So that emotion was kind of with me quite a bit during the filming." [9]

An attempt to market the film via the social news website Reddit went "horribly wrong"[10] according to Forbes. A popular feature of Reddit is the "A.M.A." section (short for "ask me anything"), where notable people engage in Q&A sessions with the Reddit community.[11] Within this format, Harrelson agreed to answer questions from the users of the site, who were disappointed by his answers, and his apparent misunderstanding of the format,[12] resulting in some of the site's users vowing to "boycott the flick".[13] CNET characterized one of Harrelson's responses as "sheer oozing, all-about-me-ism".[14] Josh Feldman with MediaIte shared the following perspective: "a proxy for the actor basically gave vague answers to half of the questions and in-no-way subtle plugs for his upcoming movie Rampart to the other half. It was a public relations nightmare, and while it certainly raised awareness about the movie, it definitely backfired." Feldman went on to say about the incident, "it came across as robotic and represented an inability to connect with people when it should have been insanely easy to do so." Feldman summarized the lesson learned by stating the following, "When you’re doing an AMA on Reddit, you drop the act and engage with real people. Some will be fans, some won’t, but if you’re just honest and it doesn’t seem like your answers have been planned out, people will respect you for it." [15]

Reception[edit]

Rampart received generally positive reviews and has a rating of 74% on Rotten tomatoes based on 139 reviews with an average rating of 6.6 out of 10.[16] The film also has a score of 70 on Metacritic based on 35 reviews.[17]

The film opened in 5 theaters in North America and earned $60,446 with an average of $12,089 per theater ranking 47th at the box office. Its widest release was in 106 theaters and it ended up making $972,512 domestically and $595,393 elsewhere for a total of $1,567,905[18][19]

Awards[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]