Woody Harrelson puts in a powerful performance in Rampart as a brutal, corrupt cop that finds himself in a maelstrom of controversy with few friends left in a Dept determined to clean house. Co-scripted by Ellroy, Harrelson's character, Dave Brown, is an amalgam of the author's previous psychotic/moralistic creations with the usual drink and drug problems, casual racism and misogyny oh and a tendency for brutal violence. After being caught on camera dolling out some 'justice' Brown is splashed about the TV and papers and, after his family abandons him, he slumps deeper & deeper into his own personal abyss. Though it's a fairly hackneyed plot, Woody's nuanced, almost fragile performance and the excellent direction/cinematography lend this plenty of extra weight. It stutters a bit in the final third but it's still a engrossing, dark character study - think Colours crossed with Bad Lieutenant.
Kill List is a British hitman thriller with heavy undertones of barking madness. It's hard to describe without giving away the twists and turns but the simple plot is soon mashed together with more than it's share of horror and oddness. After a botched job, our protagonist Jay and his chum Gal, are tempted back to work by a juicy contract and they leave their suburban lives for a murderous road trip, as you'd imagine, things don't go quite as planned and they're soon way out of their depth. The script is maybe a little basic but the two leads put in decent performances and the whole thing clips along at a fair rate with some jarring, jaw dropping violence but it's the slow burning atmosphere of dread that really impressed. As the pair complete their tasks it's more than apparent that there's more going on than they know and it builds and builds towards a bewildering, disturbing finale. Sure the ending was maybe a little obvious, even disappointing but I still enjoyed the film, A fine, dark thriller with shades of Dead Man's Shoes.