Student Voice


May 23, 2024



Harrelson gives riveting, fleshed-out performance

December 16, 2011

Woody Harrelson is a multi-dimensional actor who brings his “A” game in this new film. Set in the late 1990s, Dave Brown, played by Harrelson, is a part of the Rampart division that is trying to figure out a scandal from years ago that involves Brown, by possibly proving that he is a crooked cop.

With this taking over his life he must also face the struggles of his alcoholism, his family and his two daughters. He lives with both of his ex-wives that in fact are sisters, while trying to be as good of a father as he can be. His exes see through his words and soon his daughters do, too. Brown is used to being able to bend the law but is having troubles getting away from the rules in his family life.

Soon we learn Brown is more defunct than first shown and everyone seems to know it, but can’t prove it. He comes across crass yet always knows what to say to get him out of trouble.

Using his words to get out of every situation, we follow his life during these times. Trying to get his name cleared from a shooting, assault and drug tampering, Brown begins to take over his life and his life of being a cop seems to be dwindling. Brown is nothing without his job and will do anything to keep it.

Harrelson is great and is supported by a great cast including Ben Foster, Sigourney Weaver, Ice Cube and Steve Buscemi. Ice Cube plays an FBI agent who knows all of Browns lies while trying to get a confession for a crime from his as an unltimatum so Brown doesn’t get convicted for everything he has done. The more stress that piles onto Brown, the more he drinks. This makes his downward spiral seem even worse through his eyes.

“Rampart” is a character study, falling in line with the style of many Oscar contenders. Often times in movies like this we get an ending that seems to come out of nowhere, leaving the audience to wonder or make their own assumptions of what happened to the character.

I am usually fine with endings that, if done right can be better than most conclusions. Yet, “Rampart” does not fit that category as the ending seems to come in right as the third act is beginning. Right as you feel the beginning of the conclusion is starting, the credits role and you are left puzzled.

Even with this shortcoming “Rampart” is very good film that is made even better by character that is developed by Harrelson. An Oscar nomination could be in the future for Woody with this role as he again proves that he can do almost anything on screen.

Harrelson has had a good past few years with such films as “Zombieland,” “The Messenger,” and “Transsiberian.” Even with these accomplishments “Rampart” stretches Harrelson for everything he has as an actor, creating a superb performance that helps make “Rampart” one of the better films of 2011.

Dustyn Dubuque is a history major and geography minor that has a love and passion for film. He watches over 100 films each year and loves Academy Awards season.