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Movie Review: Harsh Times

June 1, 2007

Okay, I admit. I rent my movies at the library. I’m in there all the time as it is, getting books, and their DVD case is just sitting there waiting to be plucked clean.
I check out books because I ran out of room in my house for books, books to keep that is, so now I find myself “renting” what I read.
So I designed a 160-page book today, was nearly out of my mind with wrath toward the computer, so I ventured to the library to get a flick and leave the evil computer machine behind.
Every so often, once in a blue moon, a movie character comes along that truly makes me feel a little uneasy. You would think it would be a mainstream bad guy, but for the most part, movie bad guys don’t scare me all that much. In fact, mainstream movies in general don’t scare me, or interest me, all that much. If a movie takes in $200 million in the first eight minutes, chances are, I won’t even bother to see it. There is just something about mass produced entertainment that seems to hit a little outside the target with me.
Now obscure, bashed by critics, in release for less than one week type movie, now that is more up my alley.
Harsh Times is such a film, and it’s lead character, played by English actor Christian Bale, was one of those roles that just made my skin crawl.
This movie was wrong in so many ways I lost count as my level of depression pressed my body deeper and deeper into my horribly uncomfortable mid-century couch. In fact, the movie was so twisted, dark and wrong I ended up lying on the floor, figuring maybe I should feel the same pain the main character is spreading like a blanket over everyone and anyone in his path.
Iraq war vet, looked to be Special Ops, home from the war, and let’s just say finding it a smidge difficult to blend into the old nine to five world rife with rules, regulations and those pesky laws we have.
Drugs, guns, nightmares, bad deals, violence, scams, missed opportunities, and just for kicks a South of the border love affair that can’t possibly end well. In fact, the opening credits were enough to tell me that NOTHING in this film was going to end well, or even start well for that matter.
Now I’m not saying this was a great movie, or that torturing yourself with violence and depression is a great way to spend two hours on a Thursday night, but I have to say, there was something so wrong with the main character that he was actually right.
I kept mumbling to myself, “Ooohhhh nnnnoooo,”” because I knew that not only was there something horrible around every bend, but I also knew that this story just might be how this entire mess would go down in real life.
You ever pull a half gallon of milk out of the fridge and smell it, LIKE YOU SHOULD, only to be confronted with not really knowing if it is good or bad. It’s on the line!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s six am and you sure don’t want to drive to get more………and then, my friend, it is YOU that is on the line.
THAT is what this movie was about. The other characters were somewhat irrelevant, but it was the main guy that I couldn’t get a bead on. The accent was here then there, he was calm, then total rage. I just kept thinking, “I think I know this guy.”
The truly scary character is the guy who is clearly whacked out of his skull, but who can ride that line, JUST close enough to make you think twice, and this is what Bale’s character did.
How many guys like this are out there?
The script was good too, authentic you might say, and come to think of it, the storyline was also solid.
Again, is this a GREAT movie? Probably not, but I’m no judge of anything Hollywood(As you can tell from this post.) I’m not sure it was even in the real cinema. They might have just driven it by on the way to Blockbuster to drop off the DVD’s.
But like I said, I rented it at the library, which has a selection a touch smaller than the major video store. It was either this or “Breaking Two, Electric Bugaloo,” and I”ve already seen that too many times.

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