Rampart certainly lives up to its hype, with critics describing it as either brilliant or banal.
It will be sold on Woody Harrelson's visceral performance as "Date Rape" Dave Brown, a self-confessed misanthrope in the Los Angeles police department.
But what might be perceived as simply a portrait of a man is nothing of the sort - Brown is a metaphor for the US created by crime writer James Elroy who co-wrote the script.
There aren't many who have such a fascination for creating conflicted characters conditioned by circumstances.
The clue is in the chain-smoking local beat cop with razor-sharp wit using sophisticated vocabulary like "vicissitude."
Elroy's on record as saying that he's combined the crimes inside the Rampart division during the 1990s with some autobiographical memories, thus giving the character the full range of human emotions that exemplify the dramatic paradox.
Director Oren Moverman has addressed similar contradictions in The Messenger which deals with the breakdown of an Iraqi war veteran.
The key to both films are the "soldiers" thrown into battle.
Slowly dehumanised, they become a danger to themselves and everybody else.
So don't expect a traditional narrative as our man meanders through life intent on keeping his family together no matter what the cost.
It includes two former wives (Cynthia Nixon and Anne Heche) and their two daughters (Brie Larson and Sammy Boyarsky) who live in the same house.
Brown's a serial womaniser and his type of woman is best represented by Linda Fentress - played superbly by Robin Wright - as somebody who could be anybody.
The whole point is that Brown's paranoid. He's does what he believes necessary, never realising the human collateral damage until he it is too late.
Sigourney Weaver, Ice Cube, Ned Beatty and Steve Buscemi all wander in and out, representing his various opponents.
But the unseen cast are the people who suffered at the hands of the Rampart division who are recognised in the final credits.
You might say it's an epitaph for an isolationist society suffering from decades of cold war paranoia. As we know, that chronic condition still persists.