|Harsh Times |
Actors: Christian Bale, Freddy Rodríguez, Eva Longoria, Chaka Forman, Tammy Trull
Genres: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Special Interests, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
(Action) Bale stars as an ex-Army Ranger who finds himself slipping back into his old life of petty crime and booze after a job offer from the LAPD evaporates. Honorable discharged, Homeland Security wants to recruit him ... more »
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Macho high jinks where the violence never stops
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 09/05/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"People watch different kinds of things for pure escapism. For me, its trash talking macho adolescent high jinks where the plot moves fast, the action never stops and there are guns and violence and drugs. My kind of film!
That's the plot of this 2005 flick I caught on TV the other night. It stars Christian Bale as the war veteran. He starts off all lovey dovey with his Mexican sweetheart. He's American and is going back over the boarder to get a job as a cop. He tells her he will return to Mexico, marry her, bring her to America and live happily ever after. Yeah! Right!
First he meets up with his pal, Freddy Rodriguez, who is trying to get a job and live a straight life. Freddy's wife, Eva Longoria is upscale and professional. She has his resumes all ready for him. All he has to do is drop them off with some prospective employers.
Anyway, the war veteran is turned down by the police and the pal would rather hang out than look for work. They get drunk, score some marijuana, and talk dirty a lot. Soon they have guns, are dealing with drug dealers and killing a few people (who we don't really feel sorry for because they are as low-life as our two heroes). Their lives get weirder and weirder and include the veteran being hired by the CIA and a trip to visit his Mexican sweetheart which turns ugly.
There's more and more violence. The ending is inevitable.
I don't know anyone else who would like this film. But I must admit I did enjoy it.
Overlooked. Worth the Watch.
C. Sawin | TX | 08/12/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Jim is the type of guy that anyone may know. He served his time as a soldier and now it's his dream to become a cop in Los Angeles. The problem is not only does he spend most days drinking, smoking pot, and looking for ways to either get laid or kick the snot out of someone, but his time as a soldier gets to him more than he lets on. He has nightmares every night and usually wakes up screaming, has cold chills, and is just one step away from the brink of insanity. His best friend, Mike, just wants to get a job so he can make his wife happy, but his drinking problem gets him into more trouble than it should. Jim and Mike hang out all the time, so when one gets in trouble the other one has his back. While Mike has his wife, Sylvia, Jim has a girlfriend, Marta, back in Mexico who he hopes to get across the border once he gets that dream job. So when Jim gets a call from Homeland Security and Mike has an interview go really well at one of the best businesses in town, they think their lives are beginning to look up. But what'll happen when Jim finally gets pushed too far? Who will he take it out on and how many people will be caught in the crossfire?
This movie kind of plays out like some of my favorite songs. Things start off slow, but are slowly building towards a big finale. Once things start rolling, it's inevitable to try and resist the mayhem that's sure to ensue. That's a perfect way to describe Harsh Times. The film is generally about a subject I usually have no interest in, but the characters involved, the way events unfold, and the way Christian Bale portrays Jim Luther Davis kept me watching. Watching Jim and Mike basically flush their lives down the toilet by being the screw ups they are was enough to keep my attention, but the film's true gem, other than Christian Bale's performance(which I'll get to momentarily), is the last twenty minutes or so of the film.
Other than the ending, the film has one really surprising scene that caught me off guard. It's just so spontaneous and no one will see it coming. It's an interesting scene, as well. It puts what Jim went through as a soldier into perspective as what happens in said scene doesn't phase him at all, but Mike is practically traumatized in the process. It seems kind of unimportant at the time, but is one of the first scenes that comes to mind after the credits begin to roll.
Christian Bale never ceases to amaze me in the films he's a part of and he's done so yet again. It's interesting that he's had so many different accents amongst all the roles he's had and he's added another one to his repertoire. I guess the weirdest thing for me was watching him as Batman in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and then watching this after that. Now I'm going to expect to hear Batman say something like, "Yeah, homie. That's how we roll in these streets, dawg," the next time I see either one of those films. It's just a transition I didn't expect him to make and so flawlessly. Bale's characterization is also shown in top form in this film, as well. The transformation he makes from beginning to end is incredible. The way the film is edited when Jim is going through one of his episodes is also a nice touch. You know that once the screen has that yellow tint to it that something big is about to go down.
Harsh Times is a crime, drama, thriller that is definitely worth the watch. While the film may not appeal to everyone, it probably has more to offer than anyone gives it credit for. Christian Bale doesn't disappoint as his characterization is as strong as ever this time around. If you're a Christian Bale fan, then there's no reason why you wouldn't enjoy this film. If not, then I still highly recommend it for the finale of the film alone. If you like films ending on an intense note, then you're sure not to go away empty handed. This seems like a film that tends to be overlooked by people that should definitely be giving it more praise than I've ever heard anyone give it. See this film."
Blue Laine-Beveridge | 04/02/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie was very, very well done in my opinion. Ultra realistic, very gritty, very tense, extremely entertaining. Maybe it made some people squirm, and that's why they didn't like it? The acting was top-notch, and it was intense and realistic in a way that could earn the badge of "uncomfortable". But I love that type of movie. This movie should have garnered more attention and more praise. Christian Bale is ferocious. Grade A."
Harsh times indeed
morgoth | omaha, NE | 08/06/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I picked this movie up in the bargain bin after reading the back cover and I had never even herd of it. It sounded interesting enough. What I didn't realize was how powerful of a movie it was going to be. Christian Bale plays a man who grew up in a Latino community and his best friend is played by Freddy Rodriguez. Bale fought terrorists in Afganastan or some place over there and the way they explain his character he sounds like a killing machine. He and Freddy Rodriguez are looking for jobs and Christian Bale already has one set up. But then he gets a letter saying he is uneligible to become part of the LAPD. He freaks out a bit, but then gets recruited by Homeland Security. So now he just has to drive Freddy Rodriguez around so he can find a job. This leads to a lot of drinking and driving and leaving fake messages on Freddy Rodriguez's answering machine so his wife thinks he is actually looking for a job. But, Christian Bale little by little ends up going crazy because of the effects of going to the war, and Freddy Rodriguez doesn't realize it until too late. I really don't want to give anything away, but the thing I liked most about this movie was that all the events played out like you would think they would in real life. The violence, the way friends talk to eachother, the job process... The movie just gets better and better as it goes along, and only lets up a bit towards the end, but it is still a great movie. Christian Bale is amazing as expected, but Freddy Rodriguez really blew me away. I thought he was even better than Christian Bale.