Cast includes: Woody Harrelson (No Country for Old Men), Ben Foster (The Messenger), Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City), Anne Heche (Cedar Rapids), Audra McDonald (A Raisin in the Sun), Steve Buscemi (Fargo), Sigourney Weaver (Avatar), Robin Wright (Moneyball), Ned Beatty (Deliverance), Ice Cube (Boyz n the Hood)
Director: Oren Moverman (The Messenger)
Genre: Crime Drama, based on a novel by James Ellroy (2011)
“Everyone’s dealing drugs… 24-7,” Dave Brown tells Jane, the trainee. “Finish those fries… munch, munch, Cowgirl!” As for the Rodney King scandal… “that’s bullshit! The LAPD used to be a force of glorious soldiers.” It’s 1999, and Dave doesn’t like what’s going on. Officer Brown is one tough cop. But he does he have a soft spot for his family… both of them. Married and divorced from two sisters, he now lives in the converted garage in the back yard… while his two wives and two daughters attempt to live normal lifes. Can Dave get a little pussy at home? Not a chance. So Dave goes to a local bar for drinks and to find a pussy fix.
“What’s your moniker?” Sarah wants to know. Cops all have monikers, and Sarah thinks the moniker is insightful. “It’s ‘Date Rape Dave.’ Maybe I killed a bad guy. Maybe I didn’t.” Dave’s done talking! The next day, Dave’s car is hit at an intersection. “Hey! What’s your fucking problem!!!” Dave teaches the careless driver a lesson he won’t soon forget. When it’s caught on videotape, it goes viral. Rampart Division is now coming under even more media attack. On top of the Rodney King scandal, this isn’t what the department needs. “Have you thought about retirement?” Absolutely not! Dave’s planning to fight back. He’ll throw everything he’s got at them… including his “involuntary service as a pop-up target in Vietnam.” “This is a shit storm of epic proportions. And now we have you to deal with. And we can’t afford you!” But Dave’s not going away.
This film roars out of the starting gate like a punch to the gut. Dave Brown is quite possibly the most despicable lead character we’ve ever seen. He’s in every scene, and even when he’s being nice, he practically oozes venom. He tells us, “I’m not a racist. Fact is, I hate all people equally.” And that’s not intended to be funny… it’s his idea of being a good guy. Actually, Dave really does think he’s a good guy… who has had to deal with a lot of nasty shit. Like watching a train wreck, it’s not fun but we can’t look away. There are a lot of aspects of this film that are very well done… starting with Woody Harrelson as Dave. He never makes Dave sympathetic, but he creates a character who believes it’s not his fault. It’s an excellent script with well-crafted dialog. Another standout aspect is the cinematography, which feels like gorilla video, only more artful. It’ll be interesting to see how this film does. It’s a bit too gritty for mainstream audiences and a bit too brutal for art house audiences. That seems to be a specialty niche for director Oren Moverman. “The only thing that’s wrong here is that a camera caught him doing police work.”
4 popped kernels
Not for everyone… like a train wreck, it’s brutal but you can’t look away
Primary Audience: Young adults
Gender Appeal: Macho
Distribution: Mainstream limited release
Tempo: Zips right along
Visual Style: Nicely varnished realism
Character Development: Intense
Language: Rude & crude
Social Significance: Thought provoking