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Harsh Times (2006)

Christian Bale , Eva Longoria , David Ayer  |  R |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Christian Bale, Eva Longoria, Freddy Rodríguez, Chaka Forman, Tammy Trull
  • Directors: David Ayer
  • Writers: David Ayer
  • Producers: Christian Bale, David Ayer, Andrea Sperling, David Gorton, Jesse Felsot
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Weinstein Company
  • DVD Release Date: March 13, 2007
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000KX0IM2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,441 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Harsh Times" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Commentary by writer/director David Ayer
  • Deleted scenes

Editorial Reviews

(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 for some special ops in Central America, but first he has to pass a urine test...which proves difficult. Film directorial debut for Ayer who has written such box office hits as TRAINING DAY, U-571 and THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked. Worth the Watch. August 11, 2008
Format:DVD
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.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harsh Times Is A Great Flick June 18, 2008
Format:DVD
If you don't think this movie is any good, I would hate to know the movies you would like. This is the most underrated movie I've seen in a while. Christian Bale has become one of my favorite actors. I love him in absolutely everything I see him in. And this movie is no different. He seems to embody his characters in such an intense way, it can be scary, and he doesn't disappoint here. For being an Englishman, he does American better than most American actors. I thought the script was well written, and the supporting actors did a good job. That Desperate Housewives chick didn't even get on my nerves.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding performances, a chilling concept September 10, 2008
Format:DVD
Jim is a veteran from Afghanistan, whose application to the LAPD is turned down. Mike, his friend, is also searching for a job, but choosing instead to party it up with Jim. But the attrocities Jim saw (and committed) in the war begin to wear on him, encouraging the violent side that lay dormant until then, and he slowly drags Mike down with him, spiraling to a breakdown that could shatter their friendship...if they survive it.

I wasn't sure what to expect from "Harsh Times." I've become quite a fan of Christian Bale lately; and I loved Freddy Rodriguez in "Planet Terror," and thought he would be a great dramatic actor (little did I know, he has a lot of experience in the field; my bad homey, as Mike would say). But I wasn't sure about the concept, if it could hold my attention the entire two hours of the film.

Well, it did, largely thanks to two great performances from the leads. True, Bale doesn't flesh out this role as well as he has others, but he's still one of the best out there. Rodriguez matches him step-for-step, creating one of the best dramatic pairings I've seen in quite some time. Eva Longoria and Tammy Trull, as the love interests on the two men, shine in their brief--yet important--performances. J.K. Simmons offers some nice levity as a Homeland Security agent; it's one of the few light-hearted moments in the film, and even then there's something simmering underneath--when Simmons mutters to Bale "We're all a little wacko here," a momentary chill runs down your spine.

The script--by director David Ayer--is fairly good, especially in the film's second half; it's first half feels like Street Lingo 101, full of "dudes" and "homeys" and the like.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WANTED: Law Enforcement Recruits Willing To Kill August 7, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
As in real life, there is a fine line that separates the good guys (cops) from the bad guys (the crooks). Good guys are never just good guys in real life, or in a David Ayer script (TRAINING DAY). Sometimes they are conflicted and sometimes they're just plain old criminal punks. And sometimes they're walking on the edge of a criminally insane abyss. Ayer writes mostly crime drama with rogue cop elements and cop-gone-bad conflict. Ayer directs here for the first time. Christian Bale plays Jim, a whacked-out psychopathic ex-Ranger, recently discharged from Active Duty in The Middle East. Jim drags his best friend Mike, played by Freddy Rodriguez, thru the crime ridden streets of Hispanic East L.A. and down into the dark abyss of his personal psychosis. The two wander aimlessly thru their days drinking, smoking reefer, looking for trouble, and trying to sell a stolen gun. Mike is pretending to look for work, while Jim searches for a law enforcement job that will provide him with a license to kill. The L.A.P.D. doesn't want him, but Homeland Security does. But, something insane is about to spoil Jim's "dream job" ...

That something is Jim.

While the plot appears mundane, the inner life of these two men is anything but prosaic.

The script is an actor's dream. It is a showcase character piece for the fine acting talent of Christian Bale. He produced the film. In my opinion, this is his best performance. (I thought he was "F" ing Great in AMERICAN PSYCHO and THE MACHINIST, but he really excels in this performance. Not once did I think I was watching Christian Bale. Or Patrick Bateman.) Everytime he squints his eyes or turns his head in this film, you're bracing yourself for what might follow. A brilliant actor in an amazing role.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars You've Got to be Kidding
It’s my fault. I was somewhere between nothing to do and nothing else to do and Harsh Times was on one of the cable stations. Read more
Published 3 days ago by scott c
1.0 out of 5 stars Bale was as crazy to take the role as the character was that he played
From descriptions I thought this would be a run and gun film. The premise that Bale went nuts just because he was turned down by the L.A.P.D. is pure nonsense. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Boz
4.0 out of 5 stars A Deep Good Movie
If there was ever a weird movie Oscar®, this would qualify a times over. PTSD is no joke. This movie shows how messed up it can be. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Happy Camper
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good movie
Published 24 days ago by Jose
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of the best films from the last ten years.
Published 28 days ago by Charly
2.0 out of 5 stars Pointless
Weak plot, very weak.
Kind of an odd movie, not much content. Was not happy with acting either, Bale was out of his element here.
Published 28 days ago by Michael
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Action packed, with a twist at every corner.
Published 1 month ago by Vincent Hamilton
2.0 out of 5 stars huh
It was a bad role for Christian Bale, could have been played by somebody else.
Published 1 month ago by arturo
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT - OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES
EXCELLENT - OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES!!! WOW.....I had no idea what is was going to be like at first.....and like someone else also commented...this movie was so underrated. Read more
Published 1 month ago by GRUPOMEX
5.0 out of 5 stars the script/plot move along nicely. It manages to stay unique where...
Once again, Bale picks a solid role. The casting is well done, the script/plot move along nicely. It manages to stay unique where other films fall into cliches. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Billy Zarkette
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