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A James Ellroy aided noir that is not really dark enough.
on 12 July 2012
This is a film that the screenplay was co-written by James Ellroy of `La Confidential' `Blood is a Rover' etc. Yes he has his own style and yes he is a demi god amongst his fans, but quite often the allure, sleaze and passion that his books effervesce can not be transferred to the screen, as in `Black Dahlia' and this can be accused of the same flaws.
It stars Woody Harrelson as Dave Brown, chauvinistic, violent, renegade, bad boy cop. He sees himself as doing societies `dirty work' and uses one line quips to justify his ways to fellow officers, like `illegal is just a sick bird'. He is also living with his ex wives who are sisters and both have daughters from him, who are also living under the same, powder keg of a claustrophobic roof. Then he goes off the deep end and beets the heck out of a guy who has crashed into his patrol car and legged it. This is all conveniently caught on camera by a film crew rather reminiscent of Rodney King.
Then he comes under the scrutiny of the Internal Affairs and his nick name of `Date Rape Dave' comes back to haunt him as he is alleged to have killed a known date rapist in questionable circumstances. His drinking and womanising then go off the scale as his career and life begin to fall apart, but he still has friends and options.
A lot of people did not like or enjoy this film, but I found it to be compelling. It has a plethora of stars including Sigourney Weaver, Ice Cube and Steve Buscemi but they have very little screen time so do not really get the chance to have too great an impact, it is Harrelson who carries the whole thing and I feel he does for a majority of the time. He comes across convincing as the silver tongued, albeit some what tarnished, lothario, who prefers liquor to food and violence to reason, despite being more than capable of intelligent discourse.
Where this falls down will be the ending which left me feeling slightly cheated, but if this were a book then I would have had differing feelings, and there lies the rub with Mr Ellroy, he always has his characters larger than life but strangely compelling and that is exactly what we get here. The music is rather good too having been done by Dickon Hinchliffe of `Tindersticks' fame. There is not very much action either so some of the criticisms from that perspective are understandable. However, this is far from being a bad film, but it will not be seen as classic or cult and from the noir perspective, it falls short too but I still liked it hence my rating.