Without A Net

Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

New Woody Harrelson film looks at LAPD Rampart corruption scandal

The trailer is out for Woody Harrelson's new movie "Rampart," which comes out in January. In it, Harrelson plays a corrupt cop in a fictionalized take on LAPD's Rampart Division during the 1990s. The film itself is set in 1999.

The trailer shows Harrelson's Officer Dave Brown beating suspects and getting caught on video.

"I am not a racist. The fact is I hate all people equally," Harrelson tells Ice Cube's Kyle Timkins.

"Woody Harrelson is the most corrupt cop you've ever seen on screen," the trailer tells us, giving almost a mission statement for the film.

It's written by someone who's no stranger to L.A.'s history — James Ellroy, who wrote the book "L.A. Confidential" which became the 1997 hit film, set in 1950s L.A.

It'll be interesting to see Ellroy's take, particularly given his comments arguing that the real-life Rampart scandal was overblown.

"Rampart is another of these misperceived criminal conspiracies," Ellroy told the National Review. "It's really the story of a handful of rogue, criminal cops who ratted out a wider number of untainted cops to save their own skins. And the entire event blew out of proportion into a media event that most people took to represent large-scale endemic corruption in the LAPD. In reality it wasn't that."

The movie looks to tell the tale of one of those rogue cops, from someone who doesn't seem to object to at least a little violence on the part of law enforcement. "There are nuisance suits filed routinely on officers who bruise the pinkies of violent street suspects," Ellroy told the National Review. "This wastes time and diverts energy from the real business of police work."

In the end of the "Rampart" trailer, Steve Buscemi's character argues, "The only thing that's wrong here is that a camera caught him doing police work."

The film's directed by Oren Moverman, who directed Harrelson in 2009's "The Messenger," which scored Harrelson an Oscar nomination. It's also receiving strong early reviews, including an A from "Entertainment Weekly."

The film begins a one-week theatrical run Wednesday, Nov. 23 to qualify for awards before a wide release in January.

The cast also includes Sigourney Weaver, Steve Buscemi, Ned Beatty, Anne Heche and Cynthia Nixon.

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