Harsh Times

Critics Consensus

Despite a dedicated performance by Christian Bale, Harsh Times suffers from a heavy-handed and overly bleak plot.



Reviews Counted: 99

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 91,190


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Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.2/5

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Movie Info

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.

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Critic Reviews for Harsh Times

All Critics (99) | Top Critics (34)

  • 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.

    Nov 15, 2006

    Rex Reed

    Top Critic
  • 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.

    Nov 13, 2006
  • Harsh Times is so into its own nihilism, it sometimes forgets the humanity beneath the hurt.

    Nov 10, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Endless scenes of the two guys riding along, venting and cursing and chugging beers play like acting-class exercises, badly written ones at that.

    Nov 10, 2006 | Rating: 2/5
  • Ayer makes his directing debut with Harsh Times, which is so relentlessly grim that it occasionally goes over the top and invites derision.

    Nov 10, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4
  • For a neophyte director, Ayer displays a lot of style.

    Nov 10, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Harsh Times

three stars

MisterYoda ?
MisterYoda ?

Super Reviewer

I was excited to watch Harsh Times cause 1) They had Christian Bale 2) Gritty crime drama Wow.. this movie was crap. The plot was one of the most dull plots to have ever existed; it starts to take off literally in the last 30 minutes. Poorly directed, edited, and shot. The screenplay had no content whatsoever. Christian Bale pulls off a very committed performance but literally everything else fails.

Albert Kim
Albert Kim

Super Reviewer


This film just didn't capture me, but it might be a hit for you, a out of control ex gulf war veteran returns home to find a job in law enforcement and he just can't control his anger. only worth 2 1/2 stars from me.

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

It was quite a good film, it takes a while to really get into but when Christian Bale's character starts to lose the plot you become a little more intrigued with the film. All in all, it was an average film.

Bethany Murphy
Bethany Murphy

Super Reviewer

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