While waiting to join the LAPD, ex-soldier Jim Davis (Christian Bale) has too much time on his hands. Tormented by the horrors of war, he convinces his best friend Mike (Freddy Rodriquez) to relive their anarchic past. But Mike must deceive his girlfriend Sylvia (Eva Longoria) to hang out with Jim and cruise the streets of South Los Angeles, a melting-pot of hard-drinking, drugs and gang warfare. Mike starts to find it increasingly difficult to deal with an on-the-edge Jim and together they spiral into an abyss of crime and violence that can lead to only one conclusion...
Tragic LA drama
- Harsh Times review by CP Customer
Set in LA and featuring ex-soldier, Jim, played convincingly by Christian Bale. He is clearly a sociopath with a selfish attitude to life and friendship. Mike, his so-called best friend, gets exploited whenever Jim needs someone to rely on and make himself feel good. Jim's callous disregard for Mike's attempts to settle down and live a productive life are upsetting and frustrating, as is Mike's weakness for never having the guts to say no to his friend. It's a gritty drama, quite violent in places, with some rather unpleasant characters who it is difficult to feel any empathy for. The ending is explosive and inevetable.
Yes, Christian Bale does damaged and dangerous again, but this offering doesn’t have an ounce of the dark humour (or diverting sex scenes) of “American Psycho”. Here, it’s all deadly serious, but after twenty minutes in the company of Bale’s character Jim and his adoring mate Mike, played by Freddy Rodriguez, you really start to weary of the constant fist-tapping and shouts of “Homeee!” None of this mateyness can conceal the fact that Bale’s Jim is a vicious bully and Mike is too spineless to make the break; even the long-suffering female characters do little to shake things up, obligingly tattooing themselves with their boyfriends’ names like primary school pencil cases and cooing such immortal feminist lines as “I would be happy to be killed by the man I love”. Most chilling is the fact that the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security offer Jim a job, claiming he’s “just what they are looking for”- sure, put a big gun in his hand and we can all sleep easier in our beds.