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Renegade LA cop breaks all the rules; RAMPART (15) Verdict:.

Byline: GRAHAM YOUNG

WOODY Harrelson's best supporting actor Oscar nomination in 2010 for The Messenger went right under the radar - the film about soldiers delivering bad news to relatives scarcely had a release in Britain.

But, just like his best actor nod for The People vs Larry Flynt (1996), it was a performance which deserved a wider audience.

Ditto his latest character, David Douglas-Brown, a Vietnam vet turned renegade LA cop who is even called 'Date Rape' by his own daughter.

Based on a true story, the gritty action is set in 1999 when he still thinks that rules are there to be broken - whether it's at home where he has fathered children with two sisters (Anne Heche/ Sylvia Nixon) or out on the streets.

Rampart reunites Harrelson with The Messenger's director, Oren Moverman.

His new film begins in similar fashion with our star dishing out tips to colleagues - this time about the merits of eating French fries on duty.

Written by James Elroy (LA Confidential), the dialogue is frequently riper than a squashed melon, viz: "I am not a racist... I hate all people equally."

Some of Douglas-Brown's antics are magnetic for their ability to sketch his character, from kissing feet to throwing two cigarettes into his mouth at once.

Rampart isn't a Lethal Weapon or Bad Boys-style thriller.

It's much grittier than that, with blurred lines whichever route Douglas-Brown takes.

The solid cast includes Ben Foster (also from The Messenger), Steve Buscemi, Robin Wright, Ice Cube and Network's Oscar nominee, Ned Beatty. Sigourney Weaver is on top form as Douglas-Brown's ultimate boss, Joan Confrey.

Rampart makes the point that the alternative to Douglas-Brown's outrageous behaviour could be to have even more dangerous people out on the streets.

As ever, the balance between right and wrong and law and order is a contentious one.

Rampart offers no easy answers, but plenty of points to discuss afterwards.

GRAHAM YOUNG

CAPTION(S):

Gritty action: Woody Harrelson in Rampart.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUI
Date:Feb 24, 2012
Words:327
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