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First off, let me start by saying that I have never been bothered to
write a review on IMDb. Although a fan of the site, I skim read
reviews, often not having the patience to read the long essays that
over-excited people write. However, I feel it is my obligation to
express my opinion on this movie because it is one of a short list of
movies that has made an impact on me emotionally.
I honestly believe that Christian Bale's performance in this movie was
truly outstanding. If Denzel Washington can be rewarded for best actor
in Training Day then Bale deserves his just rewards for Harsh Times.
His portrayal of Jim David, an ex-army ranger, is coated in layers of
emotional complexity and psychological deterioration. His ability to
transform from an honourable, courteous officer to a full blown psycho
and then back to loving boyfriend and 'amigo' is truly terrifying.
Sharing much screen time with Bale is a relatively unknown Freddy
Rodriquez. He seems to feed off Bale's character and forces the
audience to feel sympathy for him as a childhood friend who can't
abandon his crazy best friend. A cross between Benny Blanco (Carlito's
Way) and Ethan Hawke's character in Training Day, Rodriquez shows his
ability in mixing comedic moments up with emotional intensity and
apathy. His friendship with Bale is so unpredictable that as an
audience, you find yourself laughing with them at one moment and the
next on the verge of tears.
David Ayer has created a dark, moody portrayal of South Central Los
Angeles, very similar to that of Training Day. It's a bleak, bustling
environment where the main characters encounter drug dealers, gang
leaders, prostitutes etc. What I found interesting was the way Ayer
introduced the beautiful barren Mexican landscape amongst the roughness
of LA life. This was to show the personal crossroads Bale's character
experiences. The choice whether to stay in Mexico and marry his
girlfriend, or to satisfy his sadistic urge to kill and work for the
drugs squad in Columbia.
It's frustrating that Harsh Times will not get the box office
recognition it deserves. However, through word of mouth and DVD
release, I am certain that this will become a sleeper classic, in the
style of Shawshank Redemption. I feel that Christian Bale's performance
is as mesmerising as De Niro's Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver or Edward
Norton's character in American History X. His raw approach to the role
makes for a startling but very rewarding experience.
Overall Verdict: A tour de force of a movie with fantastic
performances, stylish direction and an after-taste which will stay with
you for a very long time. Not since American History X has a movie
affected me on such an emotional level. Christian Bale deserves more
credit. Much more.....
Tags for Harsh Times Full Movie
, Christian Bale
, Eva Longoria
, Freddy Rodríguez
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