I have seen two films this week: Snakes On A Plane starring Samuel L. Jackson and Harsh Times with Christian Bale. If I tell you that I didn't think I would see a worse film than Nacho Libre this year but then I saw Snakes On A Plane, you have well and truly been warned. Avoid this travesty at all costs. It has benefited greatly from much unwarrented internet hype but we should have known that something was wrong when there were NO PRESS PREVIEWS. The producers surely knew they had grade one turkey on their hands. Jackson is in gun-toting, shouty mode all the way through this ridiculous mess. He plays a federal agent who has to accompany a witness to a gangland killing from Hawaii to LA. The gangsters arrange for a crate of deadly snakes to be smuggled onto the plane and at a certain point these little blighters are let lose with tragic consequences. The true tragedy is that the lunatic plot is accompanied by truly awful performances from everyone involved. On top this you get some of the worst dialogue you may ever hear in a mainstream film. It doesn't know if its United 93 or Airplane! Please pass!
In total contrast to the above nightmare is Harsh Times, starring Christian Bale. Bale plays an ex-army guy, recently demobbed from a unit that served in some Afghanistan or Iraq type conflict. From the off, its clear that he's carrying some heavy-duty mental scars from his time in uniform, as he wakes in cold sweats from horrendous nightmares. Initially we find him in impoverished but idyllic surroundings in a Mexican village with the woman he wants to marry and take across the border to Southern California but he has a problem: no job. He goes back to the States to team up with an unemployed pal as they, supposedly, seek work together. Bale's character is deseperate to join the LAPD but is rejected on psychological grounds. This seems to be a cue for him to lapse into rampant hedonism and rage. He is, however, offered a chance to join Homeland Security, if he can pass the appropriate tests. Without wanting to give too much away (because you really must see this film) things don't really go to plan. Bale and his mate are clearly trapped by the economic no-man's land created by the Bush administration and their like so, whilst they are to some extent the agents of their own misfortune, they are also victims of a society that readily sends working class people to war and gives less than a shit about them when they get home. The performances are all top notch and the story heartbreaking. See it.