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Rampart Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Maniac Cop Read full review


Grae Drake Profile

Woody goes rogue. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Oren Moverman's Rampart is a terrific film: tense, shocking, complex, mesmerizing.

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  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    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.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    Harrelson goes full bore from the opening scene and there are no scenes he is not in. But the effect is wearying rather than exhilarating.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Though the plot can be vague and occasionally convoluted, Harrelson is mesmerizing.

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  • 80

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal John Anderson

    With Mr. Harrelson, Mr. Moverman has created an antihero of epic proportions and indiscretions.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

not for kids

Dark, intense drama about violent, corrupt cop.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Rampart is a very intense character study about a corrupt Los Angeles police officer. When his beating of a motorist is caught on video, it's a catalyst for his long, slow downfall -- a process that includes several scenes of violence, with the cop beating up or shooting bad guys. He also sleeps with several women over the course of the movie (though no graphic nudity is shown), and language is very strong and almost constant. Plus, the main character drinks and smokes constantly and even illegally obtains prescription drugs from a pharmacy. Director Oren Moverman also helmed The Messenger, which was one of the most acclaimed movies of 2009, but Rampart is much more intense.

  • Families can talk about Rampart's violence. Every time the main character does something violent, he finds a way to justify it. Is there such a thing as justified violence? Does the main character's violence ever contribute to anything good?
  • Though the movie shows very little nudity, there are a lot of sexual situations. What's the difference between nudity and a sexual situation? Do intimacy or trust enter into this equation? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values on these topics.
  • The character drinks a lot of alcohol. Are the consequences of his drinking realistic?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Focusing intensely on one character, the movie tells of a life gone wrong, with violent mistakes and destructive behavior adding up to loneliness and alienation. The movie's ambiguity yields no indication of redemption or consequences.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: The main character -- a violent, shady cop -- commits violence against those he believes are "bad guys," tries to steal money, drinks, smokes, and has sex with many women. Though his life becomes increasingly difficult and lonely and some kind of retribution seems to be around the corner (either good or bad), there are no real consequences here for his many wrongs.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: A motorist accidentally crashes into a cop car; the cop then repeatedly kicks and pummels the man with his nightstick (the scene is captured on video and shown again on television). The same cop also (briefly) beats up a suspect in an interrogation room, shoots a man during a robbery, and bashes a man in a wheelchair with his car door. A man has a heart attack. The main character's nickname is "Date Rape Dave" due to the fact that he once killed a serial rapist. In addition to these incidents, there's a general feeling of simmering anger throughout the movie.

  • sex false4

    Sex: The main character has a busy sex life. He sleeps with three women during the course of the movie. Though there's no full-on graphic nudity (the main character's behind is briefly on view), the scenes are highly suggestive, with moaning sounds, naked legs, and toe sucking. It's also revealed that he has married two sisters, consecutively, and had a daughter with each of them; at the movie's start, all five of them are living together under the same roof, and the cop quietly asks each of the sisters for sex (and/or cuddling) while at the dinner table, though they both refuse.

  • language false5

    Language: Very strong, almost constant language, with just about every word imaginable: "f--k" and all its permutations, "s--t" and all its permutations, "c--k," "p---y," "t-ts," "d--k," "ass," "bitch," "twat," and "goddamn," plus the "N" word and several other racial slurs, like "wetback." The word "c--t" is shown as part of an art collage.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Though it seems to be the least of his troubles, the main character constantly smokes cigarettes and drinks a great deal. He drinks mostly martinis, at home and in bars, but by the movie's end, he drinks hard liquor in his squad car while on the job. He also shakes down a pharmacist in exchange for prescription drugs. He wakes up with a hangover in one scene, and his daughters discover him drunk in a hotel room. Also, a teen girl is seen smoking a cigarette.