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Harsh Times [Blu-ray] [Import]

Christian Bale , Eva Longoria , David Ayer    R (Restricted)   Blu-ray
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 21.43
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good, Jan. 4 2013
By Jesse
Format:DVD
I'm biased. I love Christian Bale. This movie is kind of like looking in the window at the story of two criminal underdogs. Everyone knows a guy like Bale's character, Jim Davis. Slightly talented, but over boastful of his achievements and ultimately unsuccessful. Watch it, it's grit glossed over.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Film dur mais excellent March 14 2012
By Danny
Format:DVD
Ce film n'est certainement pas à la portée de tout le monde. C'est un film dur, mais excellent. Tous les acteurs y jouent fort bien leur rôle.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Jenny J.J.I. TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
I thought this movie was pretty cool. You can obviously see that Ayer is sticking to the sort of territory that he's most comfortable with, so it's hard to blame the guy for trying to recreate the same magic in his directorial debut, "Harsh Times." This story revolves around Jim (Christian Bale) and Mike (Freddy Rodriguez), two buddies who spend their days cruising the streets of L.A. on the lookout for trouble. Jim is a war veteran who's suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, while Mike wants to straighten up and fly right - if only to prevent his longtime girlfriend, Eva Longoria, from walking out on him. Ayer emphasizes an appropriately gritty sense of style, refusing to shy away from some of the more unpleasant aspects of Jim and Mike's tumultuous lives. And though Rodriguez and Bale have an equal amount of screen time, there's absolutely no denying that Bale is the central attraction here. Ever since Rodriguez left his role in "Six Feet Under" he has been regulated to supporting roles in ensemble movies, like "Poseidon" and "Lady in the Water," but this is the first role of significance for him since becoming a prominent actor on "SFU." He is very good here, and he has great chemistry with Bale. Whereas Eva Longoria character is badly underwritten and deserves a far meatier role to show of her undeniable acting skills.

There is nothing new or original in this film, but it is never dull or boring and it keeps you with it until the end, despite its incredible flights of implausible incidents and odd coincidences. It does have the distinction though of being the first film to focus on a contemporary Iraq war veteran, but we sadly only see the violent effects of Jim's supposed post-war psychosis and not a hint of explanation as to the causes of his inner demons.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  131 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked. Worth the Watch. Aug. 11 2008
By C. Sawin - Published on Amazon.com
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. 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.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harsh Times Is A Great Flick June 18 2008
By Michael W. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding performances, a chilling concept Sept. 10 2008
By DanD - Published on Amazon.com
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. It's also a bit strange, seeing the Welsh Bale acting like an American soldier who wants to be an Hispanic gangbanger; Bale's Spanish is spoken low and rapidly, probably so we don't pick up on the accent. Still, those are just minor flaws; once the movie pulls you in--as it will--you'll be on the edge of your seat, moved by tragedy (there's little redemption here, sorry) these two men face as their friendship slowly unravels. "Harsh Times" is a gripping, churning drama of the highest caliber. No pun intended.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bale and Freddy are great in this one. July 31 2008
By Anthony Rodriguez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This flick touches my soft part, I can really relate to Jims (Bales) Character. Im a former soilder myself and have been witness to similiar situations in combat that have really left a post tramatic impression on me. Thank god I have had alot of support from my family and friends, unfortunatly that is not the case with Jim. He has no family whatsoever other then his surrogate brother portrayed exceptionally by Freddy Rodriguez. He is alone, frustrated with his life, and is a deeply troubled individual. He is in search of happiness but rejects it when it is knocking on his door. He has a chance to marry his beautiful girlfriend but choses a life of violence in joining a special op task force for the homeland security dealing with drug cartels in south america. This flick can be disturbing at times, not for the faint of heart, but it is really realistic in the portrayal of friendship, loyalty, and true brotherhood. I give David Ayer props for this gutsy story he has written and directed. I have to say that this movie is almost good as Training Day which he wrote as well. He is a talented up and coming director. Deserving of 4.5 stars but I gave it 5 because of the connection that I had with Christian Bales character. Its a great movie that is underated and probably misunderstood. I highly reccomend.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WANTED: Law Enforcement Recruits Willing To Kill Aug. 7 2008
By Unlucky Frank - Published on Amazon.com
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. Freddy Rodriguez is equally impressive in his role. At first, the two seem oddly incompatible. By the end of the film, they are wallowing in on-screen chemistry. They also have great comic timing together. Excellent job!

Eva Longoria plays Mike's girlfriend. She is poignant and beautiful.

The dialogue is a humorously realistic mix of brazen street lingo and (subtitled) Spanish. Some of it is downright hilarious!

"That's a serious breech of the homey code, man."

Like other reviewers, I was instantly struck with this film's resemblance to TAXI DRIVER. Although, the dynamics of "loner pychosis" is absent from this film. And, this Masterpiece of psychotic Suspense stands entirely on it's own. A brilliant film with brilliant performances. Went to bed last night after viewing this film, and I can't get it out of my head. One of The Best Films of 2006. And David Ayer's Best Screenplay.

This film is an INSTANT CULT CLASSIC!

ENJOY.
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