June 28, 2012 at 8:32 am | Posted in 2012 | Leave a comment

◊ ◊ ½

There’s a lot to recommend about this film.  Harrelson is perfectly cast as the corrupt cop whose career is coming undone.  Every scene is anchored by him and he captures the nuances of the character’s limited emotional range beautifully: disdain, apathy, emotional distance, explosive rage, controlled rage, sociopathic charm, self-loathing, and a bottomless, feeling sorry for himself pain that is difficult to watch.  Relatively new director, Oren Moverman, knows how to frame scenes to create a constant sense of tension; in particular the camera work and the lightening are key in developing the film’s atmosphere.  Strangely, most of the rest of this huge cast (Sigourney Weaver, Ice Cube, Robin Wright, Steve Buscemi, Anne Heche, and Cynthia Nixon) barely has any screen time, though I will say that Ned Beatty and virtually unknown Brie Larson (who plays Harrelson’s daughter) are also both magnetic to watch.  Really the film is all about Harrelson.  In fact, I couldn’t help shaking that this was just a Harrelson vehicle and that it would not be worth watching with another actor in the role.  In the end, this story is like so many corrupt cop stories and not nearly as good a story as many others.  The plot itself is unimpassioned and uninteresting and, if I were rating it by itself, it would barely be 1 lozenge, but, for every other reason, I would recommend this film.  If great acting is enough to make you see a film, don’t miss this one.  Otherwise, rent “L.A. Confidential.”

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