Monday, February 4, 2008

What's its like to kill someone?

“Nothing!! It feels like Nothing.”

says the disturbed man - Jim played by Christian Bale, the next two hours of your will be highly uncomfortable with this great actor.

Critics don't like his accent, can't differentiate with R's with S's, but surely he makes you understand the man inside him. A highly stressed man, who has just returned from the Gulf War and the last psychotic seizure while they are driving down from Mexico dominates "Harsh Times. I was so scared from that ride, you would surely want it to end right away, well, the film ends after 10 min. A predictable end but it is not the end which is important. How Ayer spinned the whole issue and showed you the disintegration of two characters within the space of 2 hours is what is worth seeing in the film.

The streets are filled with violence, drugs and prostitute, reminds me of "Taxi Driver", but here is a man, who feels killing is nothing. He is not a colorful anti-hero; he's a frightening one. Those who demand a connection between the audience and a film's main character will not relate to what Harsh Times has to offer. Here is a difficult character to understand.

The Job hunt by Bale and the other promising actor Freddy Rodriguez playing Mike gives you this uncanny feel of just roaming around the city can be dangerous. You sometimes just can shut the world around you, in the beginning it seems that these two characters are out there to change his world, a city they call their own.

Mexico looks like this abode of peace where you get drugs and booze but with no trouble attached. As soon as they head back for the city, the uncomfortable phase sets in.

Ayer here is talking in two languages. Difficult to understand, but if you like "Taxi Driver", there is a less chance you will not like this film.

My Rating: 7/10

Harsh Times (2005)

Director:David Ayer

Writer (WGA):David Ayer (written by)

Christian Bale ... Jim Luther Davis
Freddy Rodríguez ... Mike Alonzo
Eva Longoria Parker ... Sylvia (as Eva Longoria)
Chaka Forman ... Toussant

Camera (Deluxe color, Super 16/35mm/DV-to-35mm), Steve Mason; editor, Conrad Buff; music, Graeme Revell; music supervisor, John Houlihan; production designer, Devorah Herbert; art director, Morgan Blackledge; set decorator, Ann Cummings; costume designer, Michele Michel; sound (Dolby Digital/SDDS/DTS), Lori Dovi; supervising sound editor, Piero Mura; line producer, Michael Crawford; associate producers, Paul Barreras, Roberta Gorski; assistant director, Arturo Guzman; second unit camera, Christopher C. Pearson; casting, Mary Vernieu, Shalimar Reodica. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Special Presentation), Sept. 11, 2005. Running time: 120 MIN.


Jim Davis (Christian Bale) goes away to participate in the Gulf War. He's back in South Central L.A., looking for a job. He has a pal named Mike (Freddy Rodriguez), and his Mexican girlfriend, Marta (Tammy Trull).Jim and Mike go out for a drive, ostensibly looking for jobs. This is a source of concern for Mike's live-in lover, Sylvia (Eva Longoria). She wants Mike to find employment but doesn't trust Jim. When Jim's application to become an L.A. police officer is rejected after he fails his psychological profile, he spends the day hanging out with Mike, drinking, doing drugs, and committing petty crimes to get a few dollars. Eventually, the Department of Homeland Security shows interest in Jim but Mike is no closer to getting a job and he is becoming more enmeshed in Jim's self-destructive web.


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