An unstable Gulf War veteran with a savior complex receives a shocking wake-up call upon returning stateside and accepting a position with the Department of Homeland Security in the directorial debut of Training Day screenwriter David Ayer. Jim (Christian Bale) is a Gulf War veteran who believes his sworn duty to protect his fellow Americans extends to the streets of Los Angeles, and he longs to fulfill his destiny by joining the LAPD. Rejected by the force and left to ponder his future with his impoverished Mexican paramour -- whom he had intended on bringing to the city after joining the police -- the dejected and unemployed veteran is offered a second shot at helping his country when he is subsequently approached by the Department of Homeland Security. As Jim and his unemployed best friend, Mike (Freddy Rodriguez), carve a swath of chaos through the streets of Los Angeles, the weight of their American dream soon comes crashing down in a devastating blow that threatens to dash their high hopes for a bright future. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
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Harsh Times is the kind of movie that storytellers make for other storytellers. It's dark, funny, poignant and tragic. If you're looking for the "feel good" movie of the year, this ain't it!
It looks like a lot of the negative reviews are from folks who turned it off part way through. I guess that's good because if they didn't like the beginning they'd hate the ending.
I really appreciate that they let us get to know Bale's character in depth without just telling us what we need to know. This is not some dumb adventure flick, in fact it's pretty much the opposite. All the adventure in this movie is just to help us get to know the characters better.
My advice to all those people who didn't like this movie, is to rent it again and give it the time it deserves to develop. Nothing in this movie is free and it requires the full viewing in order to get anything out of it.