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Tags: Anne Heche, Ben Foster, Cynthia Nixon, Ice Cube, Ned Beatty, Oren Moverman, Rampart, Robin Wright, Sigourney Weaver, Steve Buscemi, Woody Harrelson
Categories : Movie Reviews
The slogan for “Rampart,” though not on the poster I’ve embedded in this review, is “the most corrupt cop you’ve ever seen on screen.” To that, I merely laugh.
So I guess they assume we haven’t seen “Training Day.” Or “Crash.” Or “The Departed.” Heck, I’d even say “Pineapple Express” and “Date Night” had more crooked cops than “Rampart.”
Sure, Woody Harrelson’s Dave Brown is working outside the law. He’s a foul racist who uses excessive force on the regular. By no means am I saying that I didn’t deplore his actions and conduct. But for whatever reason, I just didn’t feel hatred welling up inside me for him.
Harrelson brought nothing new to the character that he hasn’t shown us in everything from “The People vs. Larry Flynt” to “The Messenger” to Haymitch in “The Hunger Games.” He’s great at playing total jerks, and Brown is in a league of his own. But there’s nothing special about this character, nothing that stands out in his repertoire.
Add that to direction from Oren Moverman that lacks any compelling action or camerawork and you’ve got one heck of a bore. As much as I wanted to feel repulsion or loathing, all I could feel was apathy. C /
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Tags: Ben Foster, Oren Moverman, Samantha Morton, The Messenger, Woody Harrelson
Categories : Movie Reviews
“The Messenger” – it’s just like “Up in the Air,” only with graver situations and implications. And that’s a very good thing!
The movie captures with a haunting realism the journeys of two enlisted men (Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson) assigned to notify the families of killed soldiers. It’s a tough job, and they deal with some furious people (the most memorable of which is a livid father played by Steve Buscemi). They eventually grow used to the reactions and train themselves to be callous to the anguish of the families, largely by sticking to a set script. Yet they never allow themselves to be a broken record, always performing their duties with the intent of honoring the fallen soldier.
It gives them quite a shock whenever one wife, Olivia (Samantha Morton), anticipates their bad tidings and shows little emotion at receiving the news. Her unusual calmness rattles them both, particularly Foster’s Ben Montgomery, who winds up forging a deep connection with her. But when his job entails conveying only the emotion of deep respect, it causes some friction between the two soldiers.
While the movie did receive an Oscar nomination for its screenplay, this is definitely a movie to see for the actors. It’s not exactly a breakout role for Foster, but the up-and-comer sure shows promise of great things to come. He’s great on the road, but the mushier scenes with Olivia. Previous Oscar nominee Morton is powerful as ever as she keeps her grief repressed inside. At the heart and soul of the movie is Harrelson, who delivers a truly compelling performance truly worthy of the Academy Award nomination it received.
As great as everything is, I left the movie not knowing how the filmmakers wanted me to feel. The movie begins to drag as it comes to a close, mainly because of the muddled emotions. ”The Messenger” loses a lot of its ability to rivet us in the last thirty minutes, but there’s plenty of powerful scenes and moments beforehand to still leave us very satisfied. B+ /