Posts Tagged ‘harsh city’

Harsh City: THC and booze fueled LA adventure

Editor’s Note: Watch this film if you’re up to it!

Christian Bale is my favorite flawed character actor. I would want to fuck with character in a dark alley. This is a film Hunter Thompson would have loved. Drugs, sex, violence, and the underbelly of LA. Not to mention destructive friendships and recklessness that is powerfully upsetting. Bale is menacing. He’s scary. I’ve met people like this in real life. And once they have their first drink – I want to step off the ride asap. I imagine that a soldier’s life during a war is awful regardless – but this seemed to convincingly communicate the aftermath of war (for a soldier) better than any other portrayal I’ve seen.

Its not an easy  movie. There is no happy ending. There is no reward. And yet its a helluva ride. You up for it?


Haunted by nightmares from his murderous military past, the honorably discharged Jim (Christian Bale) spends his time between his impoverished fiancee in rural Mexico and cruising the streets of east L.A., knocking back beers and smoking joints with his buddy Mike (Freddy Rodriguez). They also pawn a gun, run into some trouble with a jealous gangster, and fool Mike’s girlfriend (Eva Longoria) into thinking he’s actually dropping off resumes instead of getting drunk and high with his buddy. Homeland Security meanwhile wants to recruit Jim for some special ops in Central America, but first he has to pass a urine test.

This is the directorial debut of David Ayer, who wrote TRAINING DAY, which this film resembles with its smog-saturated cinematography and loving attention to the minutiae of male bonding and “homey codes” in and around L.A.’s inner-city drug culture. One never knows where the story is going, or what’s around the next corner in this off-center yarn, and Ayer captures that uneasy feeling of cruising through a bad part of town in a car with someone who you slowly realize cannot be trusted. Christian Bale delivers, as usual, a towering performance: growing progressively more disturbed as the film goes on, he weeps, roars, struts, shouts and flips out, maintaining audience sympathy all the while.