Tonight is the world premiere of “Rampart,” currently showing without a distributor at the Toronto International Film Festival. Anticipation is high for Oren Moverman‘s highly-anticipated follow-up to the excellent “The Messenger,” and while Woody Harrelson nabbed a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for that role, three new clips courtesy of THR showcase Harrelson as the lead in what we figured was an intriguing ensemble piece. The film is a period piece that showcases the repercussions of the L.A. Riots on an embattled former Vietnam vet struggling with the responsibilities of the badge, and trying to balance his sanity and questionable on-the-job morals. Moverman’s co-writer on the project, which is based on a true story, was none other than legendary crime novelist James Ellroy.
These clips, in a word, feel real. Harrelson, who has been pretty indifferent and altogether obnoxious in the roles he’s taken since “The Messenger,” easily slips into his character in these brief moments, painting a believable portrait of an obviously complex man allowing his demons to conquer his call of duty. In the first clip, he’s berated by psychologist Sigourney Weaver in a moment where both seem to be on equal ideological footing, both with their own agendas. The second showcases ‘Messenger’ co-star Ben Foster as a fellow former soldier who is now destitute and mentally imbalanced in a typically intense, unsettling moment from the talented young thesp. And the third clip showcases Harrelson perilously teetering over the edge while somehow successfully flirting with Robin Wright at a bar. They smile, but Moverman properly conveys that the good vibes won’t last.
In other words, this thing looks great. “Rampart” also stars Anne Heche, Cynthia Nixon, Ned Beatty, Steve Buscemi and O’Shea “State of the Union” Jackson. Check out the clips below.