Saturday, 16 July 2011

Film Review: HARSH TIMES (2005)

HarshTimes_poster Writer/Director: David Ayer
Running time: 116 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama/Crime
UK Release date: 12th August 2006

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 16th July 2011.


I can’t really say why I wanted to see this film, maybe I was intrigued, but whatever it was, I’m quite glad I did. I have seen many better films, but few with better performances. Unfortunately, a great performance (or two) does not always a great film make; and this is a case in point. I will tell you more after a brief summary.

harsh-times-1Jim Luther Davis has done his time as an Army Ranger in Iraq and has returned to his home in Los Angeles. He has a girlfriend in Mexico, Marta, who he intends to marry and bring back with him, but he needs a job first. The trouble is, Jim has come back psychologically damaged, and this is going to affect his prospects. His best friend, Mike Alonzo, is under pressure from his wife, Sylvia, to find work and Jim offers to drive him around to look. After Jim is turned down by the LAPD, he flips out and Mike has to calm him down. They steal some weed from a dealer and get high. Jim then hears that Homeland Security are interested in him and he has to go for an evaluation the next day. By some subterfuge, he manages to get through and is offered a job in Colombia. This does not fit in with his plans, but he agrees. Deciding to have one last blow-out, he takes Mike and another friend, Toussant, down to Mexico, but all is not well with Jim and things are about to really get out of hand.

500full I have to say that I found the character of Jim Davies very distasteful, even before he flips out. He’s crass, stupid and drags everyone around him down with him. Having said that, he is played perfectly by Christian Bale. A really great performance, and one he should be proud of. I thought Freddy Rodríguez was also excellent as his best friend Mike Alonzo. Honourable mentions go to; Eva Longoria as Mike’s long suffering wife, Sylvia; Chaka Forman as Toussant and Tammy Trull as Marta.

Harsh_Times(060311230717)2006_harsh_times_014 The plot kind of ambled around a lot and didn’t really go anywhere for quite some time. I have to say I wasn’t exactly gripped by it for quite long periods. I’m guessing there wasn’t a very large budget because most of the action takes place out on the streets. This didn’t detract too much, in fact I quite liked the realistic feel it gave to proceedings. The only other saving grace was the quality of the performances by the two main characters, but even that wasn’t quite enough for me to recommend this one I’m afraid.

My Score: 5.1/10

Harsh-Times-2005-1 LINKS:
(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page:
RT Page:


Kyle said...

Christian Bale is pretty awesome, and I've seen films of his where his performance carries it time and time again. Nice review!


I don't think it was a great performance but it certainly was good. Even Freddy Rodriguez was good. Do check him out in Planet terror. It's an average flick. 5/10 yeah.