Harsh Times isn’t a new movie, by any means. While the movie’s going on two years old, it’s still new to me. As part of our recent vow to see and review all of Christian Bale’s movies, I purchased a dozen or so from Amazon, a few weeks back. We started off with Harsh Times, mainly because it was one of the few we’d read good things about.
Make no mistake, Harsh Times is not for the faint of heart. It’s an intense ride into the mind of an ex-Army Ranger, trying to be reintroduced into society, after being away at war. The movie documents his degradation from normal ex-military, to somewhat insane. And Bale puts it all out there. If you enjoy Bale’s performances as Batman/Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins, or his performance as Alfred Borden in The Prestige, you’ll surely enjoy this movie.
I’ll be the first to admit, the story isn’t all that fantastic. It leaves a lot to be desired. However, between Bale and Freddie Rodriguez (“Six Feet Under”, “Scrubs”, “Ugly Betty”), you almost forget that the story’s just semi-decent. Bale and Rodriguez have a great on-screen chemistry together, despite how awkward Bale comes across trying to be “gangster.” Throw in Eva Longoria, and you’ve got a great leading cast, who all work well together. Sure, there were things I didn’t like about the movie, and it’s certainly not weaseling its way into my top five any time soon, but I did enjoy the movie.
Based solely on the performances of the main two actors, I’d recommend this movie to anyone who enjoyed any of their previous work. Bale is fantastic, and entertaining to watch as he spirals downward and out of control. You feel bad for his character, and wish you could just slap some sense into him the entire time.
The movie has one of the best things I enjoy, but don’t see enough of yet. The ending. I won’t give it away here, but anyone who knows me, and has been reading my reviews, knows how much I enjoy the way this movie ended. Bottom line, if you’re a Christian Bale fan, you should see this movie. Assuming you haven’t already.
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