It was about 15 months ago when I sat down at a Toronto Film Festival screening and enjoyed the hell out ofDavid Ayer'sHarsh Times. It's a stark, dark and (yes) harsh piece of 70's-style hard-boiled character study, and one that features two fantastic performances: one from Freddy Rodriguez and the other from the mega-chameleon known as Christian Bale. It's the story of a frantic Gulf War veteran who desperately wants to earn a career in law enforcement -- despite the fact that the guy's maybe three whiskers short of Postal Mode. Anyway, it's a damn good flick, so I kept my eye out to see when the thing would hit the cinemas already.

(Harsh Times was obviously a labor of love for Ayer, who, after penning the screenplays for The Fast and the Furious, Dark Blue and Training Day (among others), decided it was time to re-finance his house and use the money to direct his first feature. And so he did.)

The New York Times just published a rather excellent article that details what went on after the upstart Bauer Martinez boys offered Mr. Ayer $4 million for his movie. Needless to say, bitterness and animosity bubble just beneath the surface: Ayer hasn't received his full paycheck, Martinez claims to have dropped $15 million on advertising, although that money most likely came from MGM. Oh yeah, apparently MGM will be doing the distributing for Bauer Martinez ... which is weird because Bauer Martinez was supposed to be, well, a distribution company.

Long story short: Harsh Times will (finally) hit about 800 screens come November 10th, although most of you movie fans will have to be content with catching it on DVD some time early next year. Bale's performance is pretty much a force of nature, but I doubt a flick this "low profile" will be yielding any Oscar nominations. And that's a shame, because Bale's long overdue for some award-time affection. Isn't he?
categories Cinematical