Rampart.

Officer Dave Brown.

Dave Brown is misanthrope claiming, to those who will listen, that he is not a racist but hates all people equally! He is also a member of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) where he is known as Date Rape Dave by his colleagues for allegedly killing a suspected serial rapist. His private life is also a bizarre mess, he lives in adjacent houses with his two ex-wives Catherine and Barbara and has a daughter by each, all of whom can’t stand the sight of him. Rampart (2011), co-written by James Ellroy and the films director Oren Moverman, is set in the Rampart Division of LA in the late 1990’s where the local police force were under investigation for unprovoked shootings and beatings, planting evidence, framing of suspects, bribery, drug dealing and various other misdemeanour’s.  When Dave is caught on camera brutally beating a reckless driver that has crashed into his police car the police authorities want him suspended and urge him to take early retirement, but Dave Brown has different ideas.

The 'family man' with one of his daughters.

Moverman’s second feature film is a grim study of a man who has lost his way in the world, a probe into human frailty about a violently dangerous spoilt man-child that has never grown up, bringing to mind Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant (1992). Woody Harrelson plays Dave Brown so convincingly I believe a nomination for a Best Actor Award at the Oscars would have not been out of place, he gives an in depth portrayal of self-absorbed violent public servant but one whose obviously well read and articulate and at times quite captivating, in fact a man you can’t help but have a sneaking regard for. But don’t get me wrong, this is a film where violent tension bulges out of every scene and poses the question why does a Vietnam war veteran turned law enforcement officer go bad, was it the war or perhaps the atmosphere that he works in or maybe its passed down from his father who is described as an old school LAPD police officer, Ellroy’s story does not give you a defined answer but I’m sure viewers will be quite capable of putting their own take on this story.  Highly recommended.

Dave Brown doesn't give parking tickets!