Whenever a company I don't expect comes along and picks up a film that I admire -- say when Fox Searchlight acquired "Shame" and "Martha Marcy May Marlene" last year or when some years back, Miramax picked up "In the Bedroom" or Fine Line took out "Dancer in the Dark," I get nervous. So it was when new distributor Millennium Entertainment announced that it had bought and would release Oren Moverman's tightly focused portrait in police misconduct and psychological turmoil "Rampart," starring Woody Harrelson as a corrupt cop. One of my favorite films from last year's Toronto International Film Festival, "Rampart" needs tender-loving care in the marketplace. Is Millennium up to the challenge?
I know that the health of the niche film business relies on film buyers and film distributors who can release these indie films, and release them well. And the more that there are, the better. But there have been plenty of sheysters over the years, too, and plenty of those who've mistaken good films for "product" that ithey want to "exploit."
It's too early to tell whether Millennium will be one of the good ones, but for the sake of "Rampart" -- and the indie film busienss -- let's hope so.
For more on my coverage of "Rampart," check out this earlier post: "Corrupt Cops, Rampart and the Crisis of Masculinity."