Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Feb 15, 2012
    100
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Nov 23, 2011
    100
    Oren Moverman's Rampart is a terrific film: tense, shocking, complex, mesmerizing.
  3. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Nov 22, 2011
    91
    Rampart is co-written by crime writer James Ellroy as a messy, disorienting noir, and shot by cinematographer Bobby Bukowski with an unsettling degree of realism.
  4. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Feb 16, 2012
    88
    In relation to the well-made and sensitive confines of "The Messenger," Rampart required a more unruly visual approach. Beginning and ending with Harrelson, this sophomore effort is full of malignant life.
  5. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Feb 10, 2012
    88
    Yup, it could have been a bucket of bleak. But the electric talent of Harrelson and Moverman is too exciting to be anything but exhilarating.
  6. 88
    Noir connoisseurs, however, will receive Moverman's latest like a double-bourbon from heaven. Rampart is the best crime-movie fix from Hollywood since "Gone Baby Gone."
  7. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Mar 1, 2012
    80
    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).
  8. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Feb 9, 2012
    80
    With Mr. Harrelson, Mr. Moverman has created an antihero of epic proportions and indiscretions.
  9. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Feb 9, 2012
    80
    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.
  10. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Nov 22, 2011
    80
    The film has its narrative flaws and, occasionally, distracting stylistic flourishes. Harrelson's portrayal of a swinging dick staring down the abyss, however, is perilously close to perfect; it's the finest, most harrowing thing he's ever done.
  11. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Feb 16, 2012
    75
    The best thing Harrelson brings is his own sweetness of disposition, which somehow never goes completely into hiding.
  12. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Feb 10, 2012
    75
    Though the plot can be vague and occasionally convoluted, Harrelson is mesmerizing.
  13. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Feb 8, 2012
    75
    Harrelson thrives amid the restlessness, and gives perhaps the peak performance of his increasingly distinguished career.
  14. Reviewed by: Glenn Heath Jr.
    Nov 19, 2011
    75
    Not only does its incredibly loose aesthetic challenge the traditionally controlled and slick conventions of the cop genre, it adds a certain visceral haziness that compliments Brown's own professional and personal immorality.
  15. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Feb 16, 2012
    70
    Harrelson returns in Moverman's second feature playing a similar character, a bullheaded LAPD officer whose long career with the force is unraveling amid a succession of brutality complaints, and although the role offers the same macho quotient as the earlier one, it's counterbalanced in this case by funny, observant scenes of his gyno-centric home life.
  16. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Feb 9, 2012
    70
    At times this gritty, intermittently gripping police drama feels like a follow-up to "The Messenger" - not just because of the thematic overlap (both films deal with grief, substance abuse, and self-destructive masculinity), but because Rampart's main character, the cynical, drug-abusing cop played by Woody Harrelson, might be the long-lost twin of the alcoholic Army captain Harrelson played in the earlier Moverman film.
  17. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Nov 23, 2011
    70
    A sun-scorched noir, 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.
  18. Reviewed by: Karina Longworth
    Nov 22, 2011
    70
    Here the director pulls off the formidable task of marrying two unwieldy performances: Harrelson's, a volatile and vulnerable feat of showboating, and Ellroy's, whose writing voice is unmistakably the voice of the movie.
  19. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Nov 13, 2011
    70
    Harrelson rewards watching; he's no less potent at rest than when he explodes in calculated rage.
  20. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Mar 1, 2012
    67
    Ellroy's bully-boy schtick is getting stale, and Moverman is overly beholden to it.
  21. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Feb 23, 2012
    67
    It should come as little surprise that James Ellroy, the master of corrupt L.A. cop stories (L.A. Confidential), authored the Rampart screenplay along with director Moverman.
  22. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Nov 22, 2011
    65
    While it provides a watchable, nuanced portrait of man in crisis, it's an insistently one-note affair, repeated until it induces a splitting headache.
  23. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Dec 3, 2011
    63
    It is fair to argue that, at least in the case of Rampart, Woody Harrelson is better than the material in which he appears.
  24. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Nov 30, 2011
    63
    The film works because of Mr. Harrelson's magnetism.
  25. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    Feb 20, 2012
    60
    A familiar story oddly presented, but with a powerful central performance from Woody Harrelson.
  26. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Nov 22, 2011
    60
    For all of its punishing pathos, the movie does not have the clean lines and elegance of another cut at crime in this city, "L.A. Confidential" (based on an Ellroy novel). As the day of reckoning approaches, the film spins out of control, careening between convoluted subplots, with the emotional pitch of the piece swinging too wildly.
  27. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Nov 22, 2011
    60
    Harrelson though, is in every scene, and seeing him burn up Rampart is positively arresting.
  28. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Nov 13, 2011
    60
    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.
  29. 60
    With a powerhouse cast that also includes Steve Buscemi, Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright, Ben Foster, Anne Heche, Cynthia Nixon and Ice Cube, the carefully crafted and trenchant drama will appeal to more audience members than it will to critics.
  30. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Mar 1, 2012
    50
    One of the problems with Rampart is that we've seen guys like Dave in movies and on TV for years now. The bad cop psyche has been delved into pretty deeply on all fronts, most notably in FX's brilliant series "The Shield."
  31. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Feb 16, 2012
    50
    Something to see and little to remember, an acrid character study undone by narrative implausibilities and its own lack of purpose.
  32. 50
    As Brown becomes more flagrantly self-destructive and at the same time more deluded, you realize you're watching "Bad Lieutenant" made by a tediously finger-wagging Jew instead of a tediously desecrating Catholic.
  33. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Nov 23, 2011
    50
    As the movie drags on, though, it takes on a throbbing, sick monotone. This isn't a concert, it's a bass guitar solo, all thumping blackness.
  34. Reviewed by: Kirk Honeycutt
    Nov 13, 2011
    50
    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.
  35. Reviewed by: Andy Klein
    Feb 10, 2012
    42
    Harrelson is effective, but the film isn't helped by the inevitable comparisons to the far superior "L.A. Confidential" and "Bad Lieutenant" movies.
User Score
5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 55 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 19
  2. Negative: 5 out of 19
  1. Feb 16, 2012
    3
    I really wanted to see this movie, and after seeing it, I wanted to like it. However, this movie is flat out terrible. It's a shame, because Woody Harrelson is truly amazing in his role. He's in literally every scene and does everything he can to carry the movie. After his performance though, there isn't one other redeeming aspect of this movie. There is basically NO plot, and the little there is doesn't make any sense. Not because it's complicated, but because it never goes anywhere, and when it does the writers seem to withhold certain aspects of the plot. They must do this to create some sort of "mystery", but the plot is so simple that it's not necessary. When the movie does end, I still didn't fully understand what the he** happened for what was a very dull 2 hours. This wasn't the intention of writers, it was a lazy half-a$$ed script. EVERYBODY behind the scenes of this movie should be disgusted with themselves, for bringing their D game at best, when Woody brought his A game. What a wasted performance, and just proof that you need a whole lot more than a strong acting performance to make a movie good... or even halfway decent for that matter. Full Review »
  2. Jan 12, 2012
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. Still waiting for the movie to end quite frankly. This movie draws you in with it's over the top portrayal of a bent cop who dishes out "street justice" mainly to thugs and cretins that deserve it, but he obviously has a twisted personal life as evidenced by the fact that he (sometimes) lives with the two women he has children with. Making the home life even more ridiculous is the fact that those women are sisters. Making one of his daughters ask him if they are "inbred".

    The movie creates a web of lies and conspiracy, perceived or real, that's for you to decide. Throws in some big (ish) names stars to try and add some legitimacy to the story but fails miserably because NONE of the conflicts in the movie are resolved. No, not one. The movie goes off with no resolution except for the one you may make up in your mind.

    And ending like this to a movie this complex is simply lazy. If you can't write an ending then don't make the movie. Woody Harrelson plays a "dirty" cop, but is surrounded by people trying to catch him that are just as, or more, dirty as he is.

    If you like movies that you have to make up your own ending you'll love this one. If you like a resolution to your stories, let this one fade away.
    Full Review »
  3. Jun 11, 2012
    8
    A really great movie. Harrelson gives a great performance as a rampart cop that refuses to change his old school ways. Caught up in addiction both chemical and sexual he winds his way through a nightmarish journey between his life as a cop and family man. It is a great story that is well told through Harrelson's performance as well as a few other famous actors that make cameos throughout the film. I highly recommend this film. Full Review »