Harsh Times | Chicago Reader

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Screenwriter David Ayer has an affinity for lawmen on the edge; in addition to the Denzel Washington hit Training Day he also wrote the overlooked Dark Blue, which featured a standout performance from Kurt Russell as a racist cop in the days leading up to the LA riots. Debuting as director, Ayer once again points his loose cannon directly into the body politic: the protagonist of this sour but haunting tale is a crazed army ranger just returned from overseas (Christian Bale) who's so full of war that even the LAPD won't hire him. While angling for a job with the Department of Homeland Security, he spends his days partying, driving around South Central with an unemployed buddy (Freddy Rodriguez of Six Feet Under), and searching in vain for the enemy. R, 120 min.

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