Harsh Times

Rated 4.0

Here’s a movie that sets out to be miserable, and it succeeds mightily, in a good way. Christian Bale plays Jim Davis, a war veteran determined to get a job in law enforcement upon his return to South Central, Los Angeles. Jim’s a little messed up in the head. When he’s not taking polygraphs and pissing in cups, he’s smoking weed, shooting guns and terrorizing women. Jim isn’t too far away from another Bale character, that of Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. There’s a feeling of impending doom throughout this movie, and first-time director David Ayer does a nice job heightening the suspense until the film’s conclusion. Bale sinks his teeth into the role, delivering some of his very best work. Freddy Rodriguez is excellent as Jim’s buddy Mike, who tries to pass out resumes as the madness ensues. Also impressive is Eva Longoria as Sylvia, Mike’s girlfriend and provider in his time of unemployment. This is an impressive debut.