Mixed or average reviews - based on 24 Critics What's this?

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 27 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: From the writer of "Training Day," Harsh Times is a gritty look at friendship, loyalty and ambition on the extremely rough streets of south central Los Angeles. (MGM)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 24
  2. Negative: 2 out of 24
  1. 88
    If Martin Scorsese were 30 and a Los Angeleno, he'd be making movies much like this one.
  2. 75
    Harsh Times occasionally echoes "Taxi Driver," Ayer's own "Training Day," and even "First Blood" in the way it examines the psychological disintegration of a character and the seduction of amorality.
  3. Bale brings intense energy (and a convincing American accent) to the proceedings, and the film manages to make this borderline Travis Bickle into a sympathetic character - with a sweetheart, and a sweeter life, beckoning from south of the border. Strong stuff.
  4. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    A psychotic seizure of a performance by Christian Bale dominates Harsh Times, the directorial debut of David Ayer that channels "Taxi Driver."
  5. The film's unrelenting bleakness and misanthropic tone is likely to be a turnoff to mainstream performances, but it provides its lead actor with another opportunity to display his riveting intensity.
  6. Reviewed by: Michael Ordona
    Harsh Times goes down like the vinegar its protagonist chugs to try to beat a drug test. It's carefully crafted, exasperating and ugly, a festival of self-destructiveness, in all ways a reflection of its lead as brought to careening, erupting, implosive life by Christian Bale.
  7. Harsh Times contains exactly 30 seconds of novelty.

See all 24 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 3 out of 12
  1. May 10, 2011
    Harsh Times is a film that shows the dark side of post-traumatic stress disorder, which is probably why it's judged so harshly. Many people have been affected by ptsd either directly or indirectly so it's understandable if someone doesn't want to see this movie or praise it. But if you can handle the touchy storyline, then it's definitely worth seeing. Christian Bale and Freddy Rodriguez give standout performances as the lead characters Jim and Mike. Jim is trying to become a cop and Mike needs a job to make his woman happy, but they get sidetracked constantly, which results in trouble. There is a lot of good dialogue and even some funny moments. Expand

See all 12 User Reviews