Directed by Oren Moverman
Picturehouse at FACT
From 24 February 2012

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This is a very watchable film but does not add much to the genre of LAPD movies.

Adapted from a story by James Ellroy - who penned the novel of which the superb LA Confidential film was based upon - it details the personal disintegration of a corrupt cop, Dave Brown (Woody Harrelson), who falls foul of his superiors after his latest misdemeanour, in which he savagely beats up a driver, who had accidentally crashed into his patrol car.

It is set in 1999 at the Rampart division of the LAPD, with stong overtones evident of the vicious treatment meted out to Rodney King eight years earlier by a rabble of so-called law enforcers.

Harrellson, renowned for his starring role in Natural Born Killers, produces a bravado performance as a guy who thinks himself, however misguided, as a hero and above the law.

The notable handheld camera style - in particular the close-up shots - thumbs up to cinematographer Bobby Bukowski - and brilliant film editing, captures well his twisted and bizzare moral code.

His circumstances are not helped by a very odd home life. He lives with his two ex-wives and two daughters from each marriage.

This unhealthy grouping adds to his confusion and alienation, and he resorts to ever more heavy smoking - Brown is seldom seen throughout the film without a cigarette in his mouth - and constant drinking - even gulping down spirits when driving through LA while on duty, not to mention his consumption of uppers.

His ever-gathering descent into oblivion and estrangement from his families is poignantly captured in the closing scenes of the drama, with little sympathy being offered for his self-inflicted plight.

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