Harsh Times

November 10th, 2006


Harsh Times

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Still of Christian Bale and Freddy Rodríguez in Harsh TimesStill of Freddy Rodríguez and Eva Longoria in Harsh TimesEva Longoria at event of Harsh TimesStill of Christian Bale and Freddy Rodríguez in Harsh TimesStill of Freddy Rodríguez in Harsh TimesStill of Eva Longoria in Harsh Times

A tough-minded drama about two friends in South Central Los Angeles and the violence that comes between them.

Release Year: 2005

Rating: 7.0/10 (32,402 voted)

Critic's Score: 56/100

Director: David Ayer

Stars: Christian Bale, Eva Longoria, Freddy Rodríguez

Jim Davis is an ex-Army Ranger who finds himself slipping back into his old life of petty crime after a job offer from the LAPD evaporates. His best friend is pressured by his girlfriend Sylvia to find a job, but Jim is more interested in hanging out and making cash from small heists, while trying to get a law enforcement job so he can marry his Mexican girlfriend.

Christian Bale - Jim Luther Davis
Freddy Rodríguez - Mike Alonzo
Eva Longoria - Sylvia
Chaka Forman - Toussant
Tammy Trull - Marta
J.K. Simmons - Agent Richards
Michael Monks - Agent Hollenbeck
Samantha Esteban - Letty
Tania Verafield - Patty
Noel Gugliemi - Flaco
Adriana Millan - Rita
Geovanny Corvera - Wilo (as Geo Corvera)
Cesar Garcia - Listo
Terry Crews - Darrell
Emilio Rivera - Eddy

Release Date: 10 November 2006

Filming Locations: Baja California, Mexico

Box Office Details

Budget: $2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: £281,609 (UK) (20 August 2006) (217 Screens)

Gross: $3,335,839 (USA) (10 December 2006)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | South Korea:

Did You Know?

Both Harsh Times and Batman Begins open up with a nightmare sequence going on in the head of the main character, both played by Christian Bale.

Crew or equipment visible: Just after Eddy is murdered in the bar, Jim and Mike run to Jim's car. As they are driving away the camera and a crew member's shadow is clearly visible on the sidewalk.

Polygraph Expert: I've been doing polygraph tests since before you were swimming in your father's balls. Now either you've got a tack in your shoe, or you're clenching your butt.

User Review

Christian Bale Gives A Blistering Performance - One of the Best On Screen Characters Ever Depicted On Film

Rating: 9/10

First off, let me start by saying that I have never been bothered to write a review on IMDb. Although a fan of the site, I skim read reviews, often not having the patience to read the long essays that over-excited people write. However, I feel it is my obligation to express my opinion on this movie because it is one of a short list of movies that has made an impact on me emotionally.

I honestly believe that Christian Bale's performance in this movie was truly outstanding. If Denzel Washington can be rewarded for best actor in Training Day then Bale deserves his just rewards for Harsh Times. His portrayal of Jim David, an ex-army ranger, is coated in layers of emotional complexity and psychological deterioration. His ability to transform from an honourable, courteous officer to a full blown psycho and then back to loving boyfriend and 'amigo' is truly terrifying.

Sharing much screen time with Bale is a relatively unknown Freddy Rodriquez. He seems to feed off Bale's character and forces the audience to feel sympathy for him as a childhood friend who can't abandon his crazy best friend. A cross between Benny Blanco (Carlito's Way) and Ethan Hawke's character in Training Day, Rodriquez shows his ability in mixing comedic moments up with emotional intensity and apathy. His friendship with Bale is so unpredictable that as an audience, you find yourself laughing with them at one moment and the next on the verge of tears.

David Ayer has created a dark, moody portrayal of South Central Los Angeles, very similar to that of Training Day. It's a bleak, bustling environment where the main characters encounter drug dealers, gang leaders, prostitutes etc. What I found interesting was the way Ayer introduced the beautiful barren Mexican landscape amongst the roughness of LA life. This was to show the personal crossroads Bale's character experiences. The choice whether to stay in Mexico and marry his girlfriend, or to satisfy his sadistic urge to kill and work for the drugs squad in Columbia.

It's frustrating that Harsh Times will not get the box office recognition it deserves. However, through word of mouth and DVD release, I am certain that this will become a sleeper classic, in the style of Shawshank Redemption. I feel that Christian Bale's performance is as mesmerising as De Niro's Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver or Edward Norton's character in American History X. His raw approach to the role makes for a startling but very rewarding experience.

Overall Verdict: A tour de force of a movie with fantastic performances, stylish direction and an after-taste which will stay with you for a very long time. Not since American History X has a movie affected me on such an emotional level. Christian Bale deserves more credit. Much more.....



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