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Friday, January 13, 2012

Harsh Times (2005)

  • Rated R: Strong language, violence, and drug use.
  • 116 mins
  • HD
  • 5 stars (Loved It)
Initial Thoughts:
The box art alone was enough to hook me. A Christian Bale movie, coupled with the creator of Training Day, I'm sold. Though I can't tell if Bale looks pensive in the cover picture, or he just curb-stomped some guy.

This masterpiece begins with a flashback sequence in which Bale is in Afghanistan as a Ranger ripping through Taliban fighters. He wakes up drenched in sweat, and you can already tell he's haunted by his service. One nice touch is he's wearing on of those skull masks that Ghost had in MW2.  

Next thing we see is Bale in a suit and tie picking up his childhood friend as they both go off to find jobs; Bale is hoping to be hired by the LAPD, and his bud is just looking for a job to get Eva Longoria off his back (this interaction between Rodriguez and Longoria is the only low-point for me of the whole movie. I cannot see the two together. It's like a 5 and a 9.5, and we all know that there's only a 2 digit window.)

The job hunt plan quickly gets thrown out the window and the day devolves into drinking malt liquor, stealing drugs from dealers, and trying to get laid.

Bale suggests they drive over to his old girlfriend's house; Rodriquez, being an eternal pessimist, warns that ship has sailed. A bet is made. The two show up and are greeted by the sister (who we find out later is well aware of Bale's charms) and she's not happy. Bale pushes aside her protestations and finally talks to Patty.  Just as Patty's defenses were weakening, her current boyfriend shows up and it GETS REAL.

Bale handles 4 attackers and in a move every spurned boyfriend in the history of the world has wanted to pull of, humiliates them in front of Patty and walks away smiling.

After this and a few minor episodes, it's apparent that Bale is psycho. The LAPD loses interest after he fails the psych profiles. From here on, the antics and situations get more gnarly and dangerous. I'm not going to elaborate -- I want you to watch the movie!

By the end, as you might have guessed, it all becomes too much for the two to handle. One dies and the other has to pick up the pieces of their lives and move on.

A fantastic movie about adults who haven't figured out their lives yet. It shows that not everyone gets second-chances. It's gritty, and has a touch of reality. I've known and befriend people like Bale's character, and consider myself lucky to have survived some situations with idiots of that caliber.

All in all, this is one of those that I'd watch again. The only real sticking point for me is Freddy Rodriquez; I really wish they would have cast someone else, but then again, he is the perfect foil to Bale's alpha-male.



  1. Nice, seeing bale like this is surreal

  2. i keep meaning to watch this and the machinist. nice review

  3. Awesome Film, Awesome Post!
    Keep them coming!! :D

  4. Great looking film I'll have to watch this one

  5. I'm gonna check it out on your recommendation. This blog idea is great though! Too many times I have seen reviews of movies I would never encounter, but this is so easily accessible. Definite follow!

  6. Once again, thanks for the suggestion! I will have to add this to my queue. I'm looking forward to it!