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3.8 out of 5 stars40
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 24 November 2006
I saw this film, not really knowing too much about it. Though I've always been a keen admirer of Bale, I thought this was going to be some kind of shoot em up action film, which would be good entertainment, but little more! I could not have been more wrong! Bale gives an incredible preformance, and he keeps you gripped throughout the entire film. Rodriguez was an unknown quantity to me, and I did not overly know what to expect from him, but he also delivers! The supporting cast do a great job as well! The film builds itself up so well, and you know right from the word go, that this film is heading to an amazing climax! It can be tough to watch, as it builds up a head of steam. But nonetheless, and incredible film!!
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on 27 June 2007
I watched this a while back and find myself still thinking about it. Christian Bale delivers one of the best performances of the year.

The film is a rites of passage/coming of age movie, It tackles themes of corruption, love, loyalty, frindship and responsibility. Bale plays a former US Ranger back from a tour of duty in Afghanistan and with more than just a few screws loose, he's a changed man.

We follow him and his best friend as they try to get jobs, do drugs, get drunk, and teeter on the edge of that precipice between being layabouts and responsible adults. There's plenty of laughs along the way but as the movie draws to a close the mood darkens and there is more than one scene in this that will have you wincing or just staring at the screen wide eyed. Bale's performance is just tremendous he is just a bundle of energy and you can't take your eyes off him because you never know what he will do next, his character is in turns funny, scary, crazy and ultimately tragic. The remainder of the cast, which includes Eva Longoria, are all good but can't help but be overshadowed by Bale.

The movie is an indictment of our culture and how messed up our priorities are, the choices we make, the choices we are given. It was written by David Ayer, who wrote Training Day and he directed it as well. This is in some ways a similar movie. it tackles similar themes from a slightly more askew angle. It' a great movie, it has its slight faults but theres plenty to appreciate. If you like intelligent, adult fim making this is worth checking out.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 December 2015
Buddies since childhood, Christian Bale’s Jim Davis and Freddy Rodriguez’ Mike Alonzo are a couple of unlikely job seekers in south central Los Angeles who appear determined to flush their lives down the toilet in a macho haze of gangsta-speak, weed and beer. However, their friendship becomes sorely tested as Bale’s sociopathic, self-destructive ex-US army ranger begins to spiral out of control in an increasingly violent and tragic manner. Despite its gritty, gloomy and at times hopelessly nihilistic portrayal of life in the seedier side of the City of Angels there is a foul-mouthed dark humour pervading the screenplay which provides a welcome contrast to the brutal gun and drug dominated sub-culture presented. Both lead actors are excellent and Bale’s fierce and unhinged performance very much reminded me of Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle, although not a loner still possessing a festering anger from his war experiences. There appears to be an authentic inevitability to the conclusion of the film as the anarchic energy of the narrative finally fades, and although definitely not a movie for the faint-hearted, it is a film which ultimately rewards and invites reflection.
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VINE VOICEon 10 June 2008
Former soldier Jim David (Bale) returns from Afghanistan hoping for a career with the LAPD. The only problem is that he is psychologically scarred by his brutal battlefield actions and the drink and drugs only further blur his perception of reality. Jim is dangerous because he can't distinguish between when killing is acceptable and when it isn't. As he waits for his job application to be processed Jim hangs out with buddy Mike (Rodriguez) whose lack of will power continues to disappoint his beautiful girlfriend Sylvia (Longoria) who realises Jim is a dangerous person to know. Together Jim and Mike cruise the streets of Los Angeles, drinking, getting high and causing trouble.

After the wonderful Training Day I was looking forward to Harsh Times, the directorial debut of TD writer David Ayer. The film is similar in that two men drive around the mean streets of LA all day and get into all kinds of scrapes involving drink, drugs and guns. Denzel Washington's powerful performance of the unhinged cop is replaced by Christian Bale's powerful performance of an unhinged ex-soldier whilst Freddy Rodriguez plays Ethan Hawke's more down to Earth low-key character. Where Training Day was blisteringly intense, Harsh Times tends to keep going off the boil with extended periods of not very much going on. Visits to Mexico and lengthy job interview sequences could have been shortened somewhat to keep fluidity.

That said, Bale turns in an excellent performance as the rage-filled trained killer and when his application to the LAPD is rejected you just know he's going to lose it. And lose it he does, gradually unwinding until the films dramatic finale. Harsh Times is a good, relevant drama especially in todays climate of overseas war and disillusioned youngsters. Sometimes the lingo can become a little irritating (every so often Bale begins talking like a latino gang banger) and the soundtrack isn't as effective as Training Day's but overall, this is a decent film supported by strong performances.

Like this? Try: Training Day
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on 9 April 2008
Love it or hate it, Harsh Times in my opinion is an awesome achievement. Bale is a fantastic actor and its great to see his adaptability to this role. The film delivers a dark, gritty and sometimes comic experience which at times is an assault on the senses. The storyline focuses on two friends who find themselves, as the title suggests, in 'Harsh Times'. Bale is a dysfunctional ex-marine trying to get into LAPD whilst Rodriguez is a bum looking for a job to stabilise his rocky relationship with Eva Longoria. Along the way the film takes many twists and turns which results in a rather sad ending.
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on 10 July 2007
Depressing, gritty saga of an Iraq veteran slowly imploding in the City of Angels, not due to war trauma, but because he's a psycho.

Good performances from the entire cast. Bale is outstanding. He provides an American persona that most British actors could only dream of recreating (apparently he has a canny skill for using different accents in all his films).

A bleak image of LA (probably accurate) and some shocking scenes, but it works well on the second run.
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on 24 April 2012
Outstanding film with one of the best performances ever by Christian Bale, worth watching just to see him play his part in this film. Simple urban story with some pretty messed up situations for each of the characters, if you have not seen this movie just get it I don't think it will disappoint anyone.
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on 22 February 2013
This movie isn't out of this world, but it is quite interesting and compelling. Christian Bale does a fantastic job too.
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on 8 January 2007
I just watched this movie, and ive gotta say i loved it...its a movie just based on characters and the events ,so those of you out there be aware ,cuz theres no big story or plot i should say...its just about 2 guys clowning around from day 2 day,their lives outta work...driving around -getting into bad situations ...mostly beacuse of 'jimmy' bale.

I dont want to say more .... but this film has great scenery shots of latin neighbourhoods/mexico etc-bit like training day-also great lines from bale -very funny,and of course sad scenes. The reason i only gave this 4 **** is because you cud have more feeling for these guys if you new their past. anyway- i just ended up loving these characters-great to watch!!

So if you really like bale or this director/writer -of 'training day', 'dark blue' etc-i suggest you go check IT!!
0Comment7 of 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This is a most unpleasant film, with splendid acting, in which as viewer one is dogged always by the fear that it is all going to go wrong for the characters. The director keeps taking us to the edge and pulling us back. But the patterns of self-destruction, the realities of learning to live a civilian life, and the criminalisation of pretty much everything young men want all contribute to a film lived on the edge. Great stuff, but I think I'll take in a couple of Harry Potters to recover.
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