By all accounts, Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster and director Oren Moverman developed an unusually strong bond during their work together on 2009’s The Messenger, a gritty, character-rooted drama about the difficulties and emotional turbulence faced by a pair of soldiers — one a veteran, one new to the assignment — who work as part of the Army’s notification team for the next of kin of deceased soldiers. The film netted Harrelson a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination (and a Best Original Screenplay nod to boot), and so the trio reteamed for Rampart, co-written and directed by Moverman, starring Harrelson, and co-produced by Foster, who also pops up in a small supporting role.
A “bad cop” drama somewhat in the vein of Street Kings and Narc, and a sort of West Coast companion to (either version of) Bad Lieutenant, Rampart, set in 1999, centers on an arrogant, chauvinistic and otherwise prejudiced police officer who finds the sins of his hotheadedness and long accepted procedural shortcuts finally closing in and crumbling down around him. If a bit short on psychological perspicacity, Moverman’s movie at least provides a solid vehicle of display for Harrelson’s squirrelly, off-kilter intensity. For the full, original review, from ShockYa, click here. (Millennium, R, 107 minutes)