"Unappealing, Ultimately Weak Morality Tale"
HARSH TIMES stars Christian Bale and Freddy Rodriguez as two dope-smoking drinking buddies who try to recapture their teenage days on the streets when one of them returns from a tour of duty in Iraq.
Bale stars as Jim Davis, an ex-soldier who can’t escape the trauma from his days as a ruthless killer in the army in Iraq. Jim is trying to get accepted into the Los Angeles Police Department, his dream job. Jim wants to get the job so he can bring his Mexican girlfriend, Marta, into the U.S and Los Angeles. Rodriguez plays Jim’s friend, Mike, who’s trying to find work after being fired from a white collar job. Mike has a wife, Sylvia, who already has a nice job as a lawyer. Mike helped put her through law school, but now Sylvia is carrying Mike, and she doesn’t like it.
Jim takes Mike away from his job-hunting duties. When the LAPD turns Jim down, Jim goes into a rage and takes Mike on a pot-smoking, beer-drinking binge. Mike gets into trouble with his wife, but Homeland Security asks Jim to come in for tests. The Homeland Security people, however, want him to take a violent job busting drug cartels in Columbia, without bringing Marta.
HARSH TIMES is a story about a violent man on the edge. It is also a story about the evils of macho, or hyper-masculine, attitudes that some men like Jim and Mike have. Mike goes along with Jim’s crazy macho desires, until Jim’s insanity threatens both their lives. As for Jim, each time his friend, Mike, his girlfriend, Marta, or someone else, tries to pull him into a quiet, mature relationship and settled lifestyle, he resists, often violently.
The main point of HARSH TIMES is its moral message against today’s macho attitudes among young men in our urban areas. The female characters in the movie serve as a civilizing force. While this message does express the civilizing qualities that women can bring to men’s lives, it is a somewhat one-sided portrayal that could be taken to a feminist extreme. HARSH TIMES also contains a lot of very strong foul language and strong violence, but its drug and alcohol content ultimately shows the negative side of substance abuse.
MOVIEGUIDE® does not recommend HARSH TIMES. Although the movie is a morality tale, its unappealing main characters and constant foul language (the most obscenities in a movie so far this year) will turn off most moviegoers. Overall, HARSH TIMES does not provide an enjoyable time at the movies. The moral lessons it provides just aren’t as strong or uplifting as they should have been. That’s because they lack a spiritual, biblical center focused on God, Jesus Christ or even Moses. Of course, in the end, only a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can save us from our sins.
(B, AP, PaPa, LLL, VVV, S, N, AA, DD, MM) Light, undeveloped moral worldview about the dangers of hyper-masculine attitudes and substance abuse among young macho men in America's cities, plus some anti-American attitudes toward U.S. law enforcement and, to a lesser extent, U.S. efforts in Iraq, with lots of pagan and misogynist attitudes from the two lead male characters, which are rebuked by implication; at least 448 mostly strong obscenities and four strong profanities; very strong, sometimes very bloody violence includes man's throat slit, some war violence as U.S. soldiers raid a terrorist encampment, photos of soldiers standing beside dead bodies, people point guns at one another in three scenes, man shot in back with shotgun, and bloody head wound; no sex, but crude talk about fornication, some brief passionate kissing, prostitute shown on street and unmarried couple apparently sleeps together; upper male nudity; alcohol use and drunkenness; smoking tobacco and marijuana, two men steal baggie of marijuana from drug dealer, and man tries to sell marijuana, but movie ultimately seems to have a negative view of illegal drugs, even though anti-drug officials seem to support extreme violence against drug cartels in Columbia; and, lots of lying, man tries to cheat polygraph test and drug test, wild partying, men try to sell fancy stolen gun, etc.
HARSH TIMES stars Christian Bale and Freddy Rodriguez as two dope-smoking buddies who try to recapture their teenage days on the streets when one of them returns from a tour of duty in Iraq. Bale stars as Jim Davis, an ex-soldier who can't escape the trauma from his days as a ruthless killer in the army in Iraq. Jim desperately wants to work in law enforcement, but is only offered a violent job in Columbia hunting down drug dealers. Jim takes Mike on pot-smoking, beer-drinking binges in Los Angeles and in Baja, Mexico, leading them into situations that threaten their lives and Mike's marriage.
HARSH TIMES is a morality tale against today's macho attitudes among young men in our urban areas, but its unappealing main characters and constant obscenities will turn off most moviegoers. Overall, HARSH TIMES does not provide an enjoyable enough time. Its moral lessons just aren't as strong or uplifting as they should have been. That's because they lack a spiritual, biblical center focused on God, Jesus Christ or even Moses. Of course, in the end, only a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can save us from our sins.