Harsh Times

  • 15
  • David Ayer (2005)
  • US
  • 110 min
Harsh Times
Film Review
Reviewed By
3 out of 5

Training Day screenwriter David Ayer makes his directorial debut with this equally gritty crime drama, based on a script he wrote in his early 20s. Inspired by his own experiences on the tough streets of south central LA, it's a powerful tale of friendship, loyalty and ambition. Christian Bale is disturbingly intense as Gulf War veteran Jim, a raging human time bomb haunted by his combat experiences. Initially he spends his days getting wasted and joyriding with his similarly unemployed buddy Mike (Six Feet Under's Freddy Rodriguez), infusing the picture with black comedy as they try to conceal their antics from Mike's upwardly mobile girlfriend Sylvia (Eva Longoria). However the edgy humour is soon replaced by unflinching violence and horror as Jim reaches meltdown and their misadventures turn deadly. Ayer's dialogue is scorching, compensating for the slightly pedestrian visuals, but his overall narrative lacks restraint. While Bale's turn is extraordinary, it eventually overpowers the film, lending it an air of soulless negativity that's increasingly hard to stomach.

Plot Summary

Crime drama from the writer of Training Day, starring Christian Bale, Freddy Rodriguez and Eva Longoria. Gulf War veteran Jim Davis just can't get his life on track. Haunted by his combat experiences, he spends his days getting wasted and joyriding around the tough streets of LA with his similarly unemployed buddy Mike. But when Jim's behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, the duo's misadventures take on a dark new edge.

Cast and crew


Jim Davis
Christian Bale
Mike Alvarez
Freddy Rodriguez
Eva Longoria
Terry Crews
Noel Guglielmi
Chaka Forman
Blue Mesquita
Agent Hollenbeck
Michael Monks
Agent Richards
J K Simmons
Armando Riesco


David Ayer

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Violence, swearing and drug abuse.
Available on DVD
Released 18 Aug 2006
Certificate 15