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Harsh Times - Preview

Christian Bale (left) in Harsh Times

Preview by Jack Foley

CHRISTIAN Bale is no stranger to playing sociopaths. He was, after all, Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, as well as Trevor Reznik in The Machinist.

Heck, even his Bruce Wayne was a troubled soul in Batman Begins.

Little wonder, then, that his latest incarnation, Jim David, is another character living on the edge of sanity.

Harsh Times is the hard-hitting tale of war veteran Jim, who’s struggling to adapt to civilian life in downtown LA After being knocked back for a job with the LAPD.

He subsequently seeks solace from his equally unemployed buddy Mike Alvarez (Six Feet Under’s Freddy Rodriguez).

Together, the pair embark on a drug and booze filled ride through the underbelly of LA to the Mexican border and, as Jim tests his friend to the limit, Mike must choose between loyalty to a man who he has ceased to recognise and a life beyond violence.

Harsh Times (believe me, its name only tells the half of it!) is the film debut of David Ayer, previously best known as writer of The Fast & The Furious, SWAT, Dark Blue and, most notably, Training Day (with which this film shares many traits).

It is already critically-acclaimed, having drawn favourable comparisons with the likes of Taxi Driver, while earning more rave notices for Bale and Rodriguez.

Desperate Housewives’ star Eva Longoria also makes the move from Wisteria Lane to a much grittier and more violent LA, making a strong impression as Mike’s lover.

The film is inspired by Ayer’s own childhood experiences in LA, and was written, directed and produced by him.

It opens in UK cinemas on August 18 and is well worth catching. Fans of Bale’s past sociopaths will certainly be impressed, while Ayer’s direction signals a potentially great filmmaker in waiting.

He’ll need to be, mind. His next work is reportedly a remake of Sam Peckinpah’s seminal Western, The Wild Bunch.