Harsh Times (15)
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Time Out says
Mon Aug 14 2006The directorial debut of ‘Training Day’ screenwriter David Ayer, this rage-fuelled powderkeg features yet another sensational and transformational performance from Christian Bale. Plagued by nightmares of the Gulf, disturbed ex-US Ranger Jim (Bale) spends his days either south of the border with his Mexican fiancée, for whom he promises to procure a visa, or riding around LA with his childhood friend Mike (Freddy Rodriguez) getting wasted and ripping off the local dealer’s stash. Jim talks of a career in law enforcement, but a suspect military record rules him out of a position with the LAPD. Mike, meanwhile, wants to find a job to please his yuppie wife (Eva Longoria) but finds it difficult to resist his buddy’s influence. When Jim’s eventually offered a post with Homeland Security, he must choose between being a Fed and being with his mamisita.Bale chalks up yet another American psycho, bringing palpable depth, even occasional tenderness, to this mentally unstable, angry young vet whose violent tendencies are liable to erupt at anytime. Ayer, who reportedly remortgaged his home to finance the film, grew up on these mean streets and it shows in his disquieting script – written before ‘Training Day’ and sharing similarities in tone, narrative and setting – and uncomfortably visceral direction. He goes for the jugular at all times – once, quite literally – and the grainy, handheld camerawork adds to the scuzzy authenticity.
Author: Mark Salisbury
Fri Aug 18, 2006