I think that Christian Bale is an awesome actor and like some other actors/actresses I will check out each movie he is in. Harsh Times is directed by David Ayer, who was also responsible to one of my favorite movies of last year, End of Watch. He also wrote Training Day and Harsh Times has some similarities with those movies.
Jim Luther Davis (Christian Bale) and Mike Alonzo (Freddy Rodríguez) are two close friends. Jim participated in the Gulf War and doesn’t seem to be able to adjust to normal life. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, which can sometimes make him unpredictable as he loses grip with reality. He is trying to apply for a job with the local police force and has a feeling he has a good chance of getting excepted. His friend Mike is also without a job and his wife tries to motivate him to apply for one. Despite both of them being able to get new jobs they still decide to do some criminal activities. The question is how long they will be able to do this before it catches up with them.
Although both Bale and Rodríguez are believable as friends, their relationship never is as engaging as of the main characters in Ayer’s End of Watch. Bale plays his role convincingly and it is his character that is the craziest of the two, partly because of his disorder, but also because he regularly does not seem to care about consequences or is even willing to take his chances and go against everything. The story itself has a few surprises in store, but in general you get an idea early in the movie where it will all go in the end. Still a movie I was able to quite enjoy. If you like serious buddy cop movies about corrupt cops then this one is very similar, despite them not actually being cops.