Harsh Times

Harsh Times

David Ayer (2005)

15 Certificate


Our Score
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.


An unstable Gulf War veteran tries to start afresh in Los Angeles. However, his plans to join the police and marry his Mexican girlfriend come to nothing, driving him to a life of petty crime - until he receives an offer from the government. Meanwhile, a directionless old friend is drawn into his dangerous world. Crime drama, starring Christian Bale, Freddy Rodriguez and Eva Longoria.

Cast & Crew

Jim Davis Christian Bale
Mike Alvarez Freddy Rodriguez
Sylvia Eva Longoria
Darrell Terry Crews
Flaco Noel Guglielmi
Toussant Chaka Forman
Leo Blue Mesquita
Agent Hollenbeck Michael Monks
Agent Richards J K Simmons
Alex Armando Riesco
Director David Ayer
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: PathéGuidance: Violence, swearing and drug abuse.Available on: DVDReleased on: 18 Aug 2006