Harsh Times Reviews

Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
November 15, 2006
Harsh Times is an hour-by-hour diary of two crazy, unreliable, irresponsible dudes trying to find a way to fit into the same society they hate, facing one hurdle after another until they appear to butcher half of Los Angeles.
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
November 13, 2006
Jim is such a psycho and Mike is such a patsy, we don't care about these guys. We've seen dozens of more interesting head cases in dozens of smarter films.
Top Critic

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
November 11, 2006
Top Critic

Arizona Republic
November 11, 2006
Top Critic

Dallas Morning News
November 11, 2006
Full Review | Original Score: D
Top Critic

Minneapolis Star Tribune
November 11, 2006
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
November 10, 2006
Harsh Times is so into its own nihilism, it sometimes forgets the humanity beneath the hurt.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
November 10, 2006
Endless scenes of the two guys riding along, venting and cursing and chugging beers play like acting-class exercises, badly written ones at that.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
John Hartl
Seattle Times
November 10, 2006
Ayer makes his directing debut with Harsh Times, which is so relentlessly grim that it occasionally goes over the top and invites derision.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Ruthe Stein
San Francisco Chronicle
November 10, 2006
For a neophyte director, Ayer displays a lot of style.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
November 10, 2006
...As well-written and acted as Harsh Times may be, you will be relieved when the adrenaline returns to an acceptable level.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
November 10, 2006
It's true that we don't need to like characters for a movie to work. We should, however, at least find them interesting.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Stephen Holden
New York Times
November 10, 2006
The film builds to a melodramatic finale that would like to make you weep, but by then it has worn out your patience.
| Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
November 10, 2006
Ayer's writing is loaded with wit and malice.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
November 10, 2006
Though Bale has the presence of a young De Niro, and the same volatile edge, he's being asked here to fill out a role that doesn't ring true on any level.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Peter Debruge
Miami Herald
November 10, 2006
Ayer romanticizes a certain type of true-grit persona and relies on actors tough enough to pull it off.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Michael Ordoņa
Los Angeles Times
November 10, 2006
The slang, the modes of dress, even the styles of fighting all have a high degree of specificity that lifts the movie above most urban crime dramas.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Bruce Westbrook
Houston Chronicle
November 10, 2006
It's an ugly, brutal picture, and it's not about 'times' but rather timeless macho posturing run amok.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
November 10, 2006
Harsh Times opens with a deadly nightmare and ends with a vast bloodbath - in between, things get a little gruesome.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
November 10, 2006
...The movie consists of waiting for what you know is going to come. Waiting some more. And then waiting some more.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
Top Critic
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
November 10, 2006
...For all its hyped-up acting moments, Harsh Times fails to get under our skin.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Bill Zwecker
Chicago Sun-Times
November 10, 2006
This is a powerful film that combines a number of 'what if' situations with some true tragic moments and even a number of oddly funny situations.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
November 10, 2006
...If the movie is a comment on the dire straits of our returning soldiers, it's unconvincing.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
November 9, 2006
[A] sour but haunting tale.
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
November 9, 2006
The film amounts to a harsh and perpetual assault on viewers' sensibilities -- not only because of its violence but because of its overall bleakness.
Top Critic
Gene Seymour
Newsday
November 9, 2006
[A] messy, exasperating, but fascinating excursion through the darker corners of neighborhoods at risk -- and of one man's mind.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
November 9, 2006
Harsh Times is almost a good, salty urban thriller.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Steve Murray
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
November 9, 2006
The film is basically a two-hour countdown to a predictable explosion. You may enjoy the ride, but you won't remember a whole lot about it farther down the road.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Noel Murray
AV Club
November 9, 2006
An alternately tough and ridiculous thriller.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
November 9, 2006
Few individuals who go off to war and experience its devastation and chaos return as the same person. This factor lies at the heart of what Harsh Times illustrates.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
David Germain
Associated Press
November 8, 2006
Unpleasantly grim and often nasty just to be nasty, writer-director David Ayer's Harsh Times is more an ordeal than a movie.
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
November 8, 2006
Bale is mesmerizing and Rodriguez keeps up with him as the whole unsafe contraption zooms.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Jim Ridley
Village Voice
November 7, 2006
[Bale's performance is] the kind of vein-popping show-boating that might as well be performed in a mirror.
Top Critic
Frank Scheck
Hollywood Reporter
November 6, 2006
A vivid but ultimately wearisome portrait of Los Angeles' violent underbelly, redeemed by a powerfully intense lead performance from Christian Bale.
Top Critic

Time Out
August 17, 2006
[Screenwriter David Ayer] goes for the jugular at all times -- once, quite literally -- and the grainy, handheld camerawork adds to the scuzzy authenticity.
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
September 29, 2005
When your model is clearly Taxi Driver, a lack of directorial flair is especially conspicuous.