Rampart won't be for everyone, but it's the work of a major directorial voice. It's a thriller on fire.
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
"Rampart" tells a familiar story with such visual punch and hustling energy that it comes close to feeling like a new kind of movie, though it's more just a tough gloss on American crime stories past.
Manohla Dargis - New York Times
It's a testament to the direction of Oren Moverman and the script he co-wrote with James Ellroy that we care what happens to such a despicable character.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
"Rampart" doesn't tell a coherent story as much as swirl the drain with Dave, as his increasingly desperate efforts to save himself simply result in a cascade of self-inflicted wounds.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
Something to see and little to remember, an acrid character study undone by narrative implausibilities and its own lack of purpose.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
Much like Ellroy's noir classics The Black Dahlia and American Tabloid, Rampart is an imaginative work of historical crime fiction using invented characters to reanimate a specific time and place.
Karina Longworth - Village Voice
Harrelson makes Dave Brown fascinating even as writer-director Oren Moverman - who also made "The Messenger" - allows the film, from a James Ellroy screenplay, to become a sprawl.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
With Mr. Harrelson, Mr. Moverman has created an antihero of epic proportions and indiscretions.
John Anderson - Wall Street Journal
The movie's got some strong moments, and Harrelson's work here is so committed that many might feel his character's journey is worth sitting through for that alone.
Glenn Kenny - MSN Movies
Harrelson is an ideal actor for the role. Especially in tensely wound-up movies like this, he implies that he's looking at everything and then watching himself looking.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
"Rampart" patrols some familiar streets, but this jarringly intimate study of a dirty Los Angeles cop sliding, crazily, down the drain has a distinctive new-cliche smell, pungent and alive.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
He insists on "keeping the family together" with the same irrational devotion he applies to his job.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
Where's it all go? Nowhere, really, just down a dirty, disappointing hole. Harrelson deserved better.
Tom Long - Detroit News
Brown is a sick man, but Harrelson makes him so interesting, so charismatic, so ... watchable, that you can't look away, even if his actions make you want to (and they will).
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
An unnerving warts-and-all portrait of a man staggering around in circles of arrogant self-deception.
Rex Reed - New York Observer
While the film is drenched in atmosphere and packs a verbal and visceral punch, its relentless downward spiral makes for an overdetermined, not entirely satisfying character study.
Justin Chang - Variety
It takes on a throbbing, sick monotone. This isn't a concert, it's a bass guitar solo, all thumping blackness.
Kyle Smith - New York Post
This isn't your average out-of-control character, and Harrelson has to work against a narrowly defined screenplay that is short on specifics.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
Harrelson both relishes the conviction with which Dave continually acts out and sells the tumult that follows when he has no one left to hate but himself.
William Goss - Film.com
Using an improvisatory method built around Harrelson's fiery performance, Moverman -- showing incredible range in jagged contrast to the understatement of "The Messenger" -- foregrounds Date Rape Dave's commitment to a lost cause.
Eric Kohn - indieWIRE
Hallucinatory, elliptical, with dialogue as rich as chocolate cake, this is the self-proclaimed Demon Dog of American crime fiction at his fevered best.
Stephen Cole - Globe and Mail
This movie's too small and too dark to have gotten Harrelson into the overcrowded best-actor race, but it's without question one of the year's great performances.
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
It's a downbeat character study and, for the most part, it executes that aspect adequately.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
In trying to create the worst cop ever in a realistic milieu, director Oren Moveerman comes up with a creature that is neither credible nor interesting.
Kirk Honeycutt - Hollywood Reporter
Instead of leading toward understanding, "Rampart" remains a dirty cop caricature, more a complaint than a story.
Jake Coyle - Associated Press
Harrelson rewards watching; he's no less potent at rest than when he explodes in calculated rage.
Richard Corliss - TIME Magazine
It's either one of the last great movies of 2011 or one of the first great movies of 2012.
Richard Roeper - Richard Roeper.com
Playing a cop at his worst, his hands never dirtier, the stakes never higher, Woody Harrelson has perhaps never been better than he is in the seamy, scandalous jumbled rumble of "Rampart."
Betsy Sharkey - Los Angeles Times
A terrible movie that only works on the rare occasions when Harrelson's searing performance is allowed to shine.
A powerful portrait of a seriously damaged, both internally and externally, man.
Jack Giroux - Film School Rejects
[A] cop drama in the vein of Bad Lieutenant, except in this case the bad cop that is front and centre truly thinks he's doing good.
Rampart doesn't end up having as much emotional punch to it as The Messenger did, mainly because it feels as though the idea was not thought out to completion.
Jeff Beck - We Got This Covered
What keeps the movie engaging for as long as it was is the amazing performance by two-time Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson.
Jeff Beck - Examiner.com
IN case you needed it, this unsettling cop drama is further proof that Woody Harrelson is one of the most underrated actors going round.
Matt Neal - The Standard
You get the impression that the film is as conflicted as its protagonist: trying to be both an arty character study and a dynamic drama at the same time but unable to excel at either.
Matt Looker - TheShiznit.co.uk
A film saddled with a melodramatic script that would serve better as a TV pilot.
Erick Weber - NECN
No thrills, no secret plots, and no obvious politics, "Rampart" is a powerful and moving look into an empty person.
Witney Seibold - CraveOnline
This movie feels too undecided. The movie is so intent on not being "Training Day" that it just isn't "Training Day" enough.
Woody Harrelson is mesmerising as the anti-hero of gripping crime drama Rampart, but his pill-popping, booze-swigging, suspect-beating dirty cop, is so irredeemably unsympathetic that you almost wish he weren't so compelling to watch.
Jason Best - Movie Talk
Loaded with poorly executed cop movie cliches
Tom Clift - Moviedex
Rampart asks a lot of its audience, and offers very little in return. Only Harrelson makes the ordeal worthwhile.
Simon Miraudo - Quickflix
Ultimately Rampart is Harrelson's showcase, and he takes full advantage of fleshing out a complex role.
Mark Pfeiffer - Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
When Steve Buscemi is playing a district attorney, you know you're in a moral quagmire.
Rob Thomas - Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Rampart is a hypnotic, subjective, immersive experience into the deepest depths of a character that you love to hate. It's powerfully ambiguous filmmaking; and you need to see it.
Blake Howard - 2UE That Movie Show
The incendiary dialogue -- as much a performer's showcase as is a jazz instrumentalist's solo -- is signature Ellroy.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
A nightmarish, hallucinatory film, bathed in raw neon colors and with style to spare, and with a blistering central performance by Woody Harrleson.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Another bad cop on the road to ruin
Robert Denerstein - Movie Habit
Harrelson is riveting as a man without redeeming qualities or hope of redemption being driven to madness by personal demons.
Duane Dudek - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Harrelson scorches the earth.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
Richard Roeper - ReelzChannel.com
Leonard Maltin - ReelzChannel.com
Rampart is more of a character study than any sort of crime procedural, and it's all the better for it.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
The performances are uniformly excellent and the film looks great, thanks in no small part to the cinematography of Bobby Bukowski...
Sarah Boslaugh - Playback:stl
Harrelson is utterly captivating, as the sort of bitter, corrupt L.A. cop you would imagine holding down Rodney King with a smile.
Corey Hall - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Like the myth of the American West in a related genre, Dave reflects on an ideal past that never really was.
Matthew Sorrento - Film International
The dark feeling it captures is more important than the details of the hazy plot.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
A movie with a literary heartbeat.
Ed Whitfield - The Ooh Tray
- Miami Herald
It's a remarkably compelling film.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
It ... teems with machismo, misogyny, racism and cruelty. And while it manages often to hold all of that awfulness at critical distance, you can sense an embrace as well.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
Rampart's eccentricities will offend those committed to a straighter, chillier style, but its stylistic looseness only serves to underline Brown's utter disconnect from reality.
Andrew Simpson - Fan The Fire
The same measured calculation that went into casting big actors for small roles to keep the attention on Harrelson goes into many choices throughout Rampart, and though the effect can be frustrating, it feels correct.
Justin Strout - Orlando Weekly
It confirms Harrelson's position as one of the best, most ambitious, least self-regarding actors at work today, and by the end he's compelled us to understand Brown and accord him a grudging respect.
Philip French - Observer [UK]
Rampart is the Shame of police movies.
Nick Nunziata - CHUD
Harrelson as the Anti-Christ copper doing his very best to unsettle the status quo ... makes a solid impression.
Lisa Giles-Keddie - Real.com
- Austin Chronicle
Although it doesn't quite match LA Confidential for complexity and scale, it does capture some of the grit and dynamism of the author's hard-boiled style.
Damon Wise - Radio Times
The film is shown from Brown's point of view, with Woody Harrelson, dominating every scene and giving the performance of his life, somehow imbuing this violent, bigoted misanthrope with personality, charm and humour.
Paul Huckerby - Electric Sheep
Rampart is a film more about how scandal affects character and evolving mental state rather than the resolution of such scandal. And even though the movie is a bit formless and meandering, Harrelson's performance is certainly worth seeing.
Jonathan W. Hickman - Daily Film Fix
Harrelson is riveting, and Moverman's gaze is unflinching.
Andrew Lowry - Little White Lies
No Ellroy fan should miss this movie.
David Sexton - This is London
If small, dark and disturbing is what you're after at the movies, look no further than Rampart.
Liz Braun - Jam! Movies
The always present Harrelson gives one of his best performances - all bravado on the outside and self doubt on the inside.
Alex Zane - Sun Online
Harrelson does everything but beg for an Oscar in a film that does little else but delve deeper and deeper into a character that has no depth.
Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail [UK]
A murky, blurred reflection of policing in LA circa 1999 which will make you think that even in clear cases of right and wrong there is still a middle ground where it pays to tread carefully.
Graham Young - Birmingham Post
If Oren Moverman's 'bad cop' drama is a bit short on psychological perspicacity, Moverman's movie at least provides a solid vehicle of display for Harrelson's squirrelly, off-kilter intensity.
Brent Simon - Shockya.com
Rampart might be a worthy attempt to probe the banality of evil, but after an hour and a half of its near-unvarying gruesomeness, it's the film that starts to feel decidedly banal.
Robbie Collin - Daily Telegraph
At its centre is a character portrait almost as memorably excruciating - in its tormented, self-tormenting psyche - as Buchner's Woyzeck.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
Harrelson is fantastic, and the movie has some great ideas, but it's frustratingly unable to see them through.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Rampart is a gripping movie, and a great addition to the Ellroy canon.
Poor Woody Harrelson. Here he is with a great role in 'Rampart,' and the movie turns out to be about as messy as one can get, through no fault of his own.
Betty Jo Tucker - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Dave is, simply put, a bad man, and part of the brilliance of Harrelson's performance is that he makes us feel for him anyway.
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
Woody Harrelson is at his intense best.
Mark Adams - Daily Mirror [UK]
It's always a pleasure to watch Woody Harrelson when he's giving one of his meaty performances and he's on good form in Rampart but boy does his character, and the film, test our patience.
Henry Fitzherbert - Daily Express
The meandering script is increasingly frustrating, the central character is deeply unlikeable and Moverman's direction veers between sluggish and pretentious throughout.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
It's good to see a dirty cop that doesn't come clean.
Tim Evans - Sky Movies
Sure to provoke furious reactions in those unwilling to succumb to its mood of reckless abandon. But for those who can, this feverish slice of LA noir is set to be one of the purest cinematic pleasures of 2012.
Tom Huddleston - Time Out
Without Ellroy's masterful prose, Rampart's obnoxious leading man is beyond redemption.
Oren Moverman's storytelling is hazy and sometimes hysterical but Harrelson is magnificent.
Siobhan Synnot - Scotsman
It's not competently directed, and the plot is convoluted, but Harrelson's turn makes it worthwhile almost all by itself.
Stephen Silver - Patch
A familiar story oddly presented, but with a powerful central performance from Woody Harrelson.
Dan Jolin - Empire Magazine
Another heavily weighted, often histrionic effort from writer/director Oren Moverman and actor Woody Harrelson, 'Rampart' gives Harrelson plenty of opportunity to chew the bark off the palm trees in Los Angeles.
James Verniere - Boston Herald
Rampart is nothing more than an showy cinematographic exercise that depicts an anti-hero who resolutely won't change. Does the film undergo any kind of story arc? Nope. Give me a Training Day any day.
Kimberly Gadette - Doddle
Director Oren Moverman understands that Woody Harrelson is a real actor and makes movies to prove it.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
Compelling character, murky movie.
Matt Pais - RedEye
Not derivative so much as a variation on a template.
Peter Keough - Boston Phoenix
... difficult to take and complex about its central character.
D.K. Holm - Cinemonkey
This original screenplay is not based on the notorious Rampart Division scandal that rocked the L.A.P.D., but it does take place in 1999 when that investigation was still current.
Leonard Maltin - Leonard Maltin's Picks
Rampart about the performances, most notably Woody's. The movie on the whole is just okay, leaving you with a unsatisfying ending and doesn't add up to a whole lot.
Neil Rosen - NY1-TV
The visual style is designed to bring us into Dave's paranoia, but a few shots are simply baffling, hinting at things that never pay off.
Andy Klein - Christian Science Monitor
Harrelson gives a great performance as a man out of control. He isn't just evil. He has a number of facets to his personality.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
Effectively written, directed, and acted, Rampart is a grimly fascinating portrait of a guy who swore to uphold the law, but ended up staring into the abyss that is himself.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
[Harrelson's is] a great performance that has been undervalued during awards season and the film is better than its glossier counterpart, "Training Day."
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
While Harrelson's work contributes to this sandpaper rub of Los Angeles corruption, it's eventually lost to unnecessary distortion in a feature that works much too hard to appear effortless.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
The movie zooms from incident to incident, piling up examples of the anti-hero's misdeeds, primarily so it can ponder how one man could be so stubbornly wicked.
Noel Murray - AV Club
Bad Lieutenant made by a tediously finger-wagging Jew instead of a tediously desecrating Catholic.
Moverman's plummeting psychological profile shows great taste but poor judgement - the wonderful cast and convincing plot sacrificed in service of the exceptional Harrelson.
Matt Glasby - Total Film
The best and most enjoyable thing about Rampart is all the pyrotechnics emanating from the very interesting object that is Woody Harrelson's brain.
Bob Westal - Bullz-Eye.com
Woody Harrelson's awards-worthy performance is the only reason to see this police drama.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
This sleazy L.A. noir crime thriller is distinguished primarily by Woody Harrelson's 'rotten from the inside out' rogue character study.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
A crackling potboiler with seething political undertones.
Phil Villarreal - OK! Magazine
Thankfully, the ever-watchable Woody Harrelson re-teamed with his The Messenger director, Oren Moverman, to carry what may have otherwise been relegated to late night TMC and the discount DVD racks at Duane Reade.
Jordan Hiller - Bangitout.com
A dour, depressing character study that doesn't so much develop and expand as simply repeat the same points over and over again, to diminishing effect.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
Yet when--purposely--most is said and done, it's Harrelson's gritty, nuanced performance that carries this truly pathetic film over the edge of despair.
S. James Wegg - JWR
Moverman gets away with a protagonist who it's impossible to root for by making sure we care about the fallout of his meltdown.
Ian Buckwalter - NPR
What could, in surer hands, come across as uncompromising brutal brilliance just feels like particularly aggressive button-pushing.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
Woody Harrelson's no-holds-barred performance as a veteran cop trapped in a downward spiral of his own making is the white-hot core of this intense drama, whose relentless intimacy may play better on a small screen.
Maitland McDonagh - Film Journal International
Harrelson may have given another award-worthy performance here, but it's lost amid the oblique visuals and storytelling.
Annlee Ellingson - Paste Magazine
Moverman's movie is the opposite of its lead character, sober and serious, and with an eye on some kind of social commentary... But Harrelson is given a great challenge, and he more than rises to the occasion.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Common Sense Media
A film test for Woody Harrelson's commendable nasty character skills, "Rampart's" fails to provide much healing to allow L.A. to move on.
Ron Wilkinson - Monsters and Critics
Harrelson commits fully to the unshowy depravity and low-boil rage and director Moverman won't pass judgment, choosing instead to surround his officer with even more more barriers, more crime and more downhill slide.
Dave White - Movies.com
Harrelson completely commits to being this horrible, paranoid man who can do nothing but be confrontational in a uniform. I hope it's more fiction than reality.
Grae Drake - Movies.com
What we're left with is a procedural that's difficult to get completely invested in.
Bill Clark - FromTheBalcony
all atmosphere and paranoia but little in the way of momentum
Christopher Null - Filmcritic.com
...destined to come and go without leaving much of a trace, not because of its occasional defects, but because of the things it does right.
Chris Barsanti - PopMatters
"Rampart" has nothing but great performances - particularly Harrelson's brutally vulgar, violent one as Dave Brown. And it gets more of Ellroy's world on screen than any other adaptation.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
[Woody] Harrelson is sensational in his strongest showcase role in years.
Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com
[VIDEO] A riff on the "Bad Lieutenant" corrupt cop theme that Abel Abel Ferrara so eloquently nailed down for all eternity in 1992, "Rampart" is the flawed work of writer/director Oren Moverman ("The Messenger") and famed crime author James Ellroy.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
Fluidly directed by Moverman and splendidly acted by Harrelson, who deserves Best Actor Oscar nomination, Rampart adds an honorable (if familiar) panel to the subgenre of the Dirty Cop, alongside Eastwood's Dirty Harry and Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
Harrelson's portrayal ... is perilously close to perfect; it's the finest, most harrowing thing he's ever done.
David Fear - Time Out
As Brown lurches toward self-destruction, we start to long for him to find it.
Alison Willmore - Movieline
Moverman's camera keeps its hands off Harrelson's psyche, letting the drama result from a cool distance (when things get emotional in the third act, the film loses some potency).
Sara Maria Vizcarrondo - Boxoffice Magazine
The pic gets over mainly through Harrelson's endearing performance as the conflicted flawed cop.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
A savage, white-hot performance by Harrelson..intense story-telling..a character you can't take your eyes off.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
Has Ellroy's stamp of living through and surviving decadence. Harrelson expresses a bounty of hostile and rage-filled emotions.
Victoria Alexander - FilmsInReview.com
If Robert Altman had made a cop drama, it might have looked and sounded like Rampart.
Glenn Heath Jr. - Slant Magazine
Harrelson reunites with The Messenger writer-director Moverman for this grim drama about police corruption in late-1990s Los Angeles. But while it's sharply well-made, the film doesn't really offer anything new to the bad-cop genre.
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
As a character study of a dirty cop in a spiral to oblivion it just about works thanks to Harrelson's commitment, but ultimately the in-your-face style and confusing story stop the emotions from getting truly under your skin.
Amber Wilkinson - Eye for Film
Kate Erbland - Film School Rejects
Woody Harrelson's compelling performance as a man desperately trying to escape a net drawing ever tighter - yet fundamentally refusing to change his ways - ensures this gripping and gritty crime drama amounts to being more than just The Shield: The Movie.
Shaun Munro - What Culture
Distinguished from other "cop on the edge" dramas by both Harrelson's Oscar-caliber performance, and Moverman's refusal to judge his characters, or spoon feed an easy-to-digest ending to the audience.
Chris Bumbray - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
...a progressively unpleasant piece of work...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews