Tomasz (Maciej Musialowski) has what may politely be known as grey moral boundaries. He’s launched going through down the school on the legislation faculty he attends, who’ve caught him plagiarizing and are expelling him. Within the subsequent scene, he visits outdated household buddies who’ve been serving to pay for legislation faculty, and never solely does he not inform them of his expulsion, however he “unintentionally” leaves his cellphone there and units it so he can take heed to what they are saying about him when he leaves. They suppose he’s creepy. They’re not improper. Nonetheless, one of many fascinating issues about Jan Komasa’s “The Hater,” is attempting to determine if the filmmaker agrees, and what precisely we’re supposed to remove from this story of a contemporary Travis Bickle or Patrick Bateman who channels his sociopathic conduct into a spot designed to reinforce it: Fb. Is Tomasz an opportunist scumbag or a sufferer of a web-based tradition that has destroyed decency? Might he be each?
Like Mr. Bickle, a lot of Tomasz’s conduct is amplified by a crush—this one on an outdated childhood buddy named Gabi (Vanessa Aleksander), who first appears to need nothing to do with him however will get nearer as he turns into extra profitable at a type of mysterious tech corporations that exist to affect social media. Tomasz turns into a breakout star after initiating a web-based smear marketing campaign towards a well being guru, suggesting her product turns your hand yellow. He’s promoted to the true deal—the more and more hateful and fearmongering world of on-line political discourse, the place he amplifies a smear marketing campaign, utilizing racism, xenophobia, and homophobia as not simply instruments of division however methods to get forward.
Tomasz appears to truthfully take pleasure in pushing from each side of the marketing campaign of Pawel Rudnicki (Maciej Stuhr), like when he schedules each a pro-candidate march and a protest towards Rudnicki through Fb, hoping violence ensues within the center. When Gabi’s dad and mom, who’re massive Rudnicki supporters, push Tomasz out of their life in a approach that crushes him and kills his probabilities for love, he makes it his mission to take Rudnicki down, sending the movie on a spiral to inevitable bloodshed.
The web fomentation of hate and worry has been and can proceed to be a significant subject material for filmmakers all over the world. Komasa, who made waves earlier this yr with “Corpus Christi,” and received an Worldwide Award for this movie on the digital Tribeca 2020, has a greater grasp on a few of it than loads of filmmakers who too typically break these tales down to “Web Unhealthy.” He’s finally telling a densely plotted story, one which connects dots from plagiarism to Fb stalking to precise violence. There are occasions when it seems like Komasa and screenwriter Mateusz Pacewicz have bitten off a bit greater than they’ll chew—they don’t appear to actually know the way younger folks speak and nobody concerned appears to have performed an MMORPG, which is how Tomasz recruits a soldier to his trigger in an uncharacteristically false scene—however there’s an formidable drive to “The Hater” that retains it buzzing by way of its lengthy operating time. A few of it will not be utterly plausible, nevertheless it’s actually by no means boring—Komasa even finds a solution to defy a standard visible problem in related films, during which characters seem caught watching cellphone and pc screens for a lot of the movie.
The true dialogue round “The Hater”—if there may be any for a film that Netflix is dumping quietly on a Wednesday—will likely be round how we’re presupposed to really feel about Tomasz. Anti-heroes may be exhausting, and it may be robust to spend this a lot time with somebody as egocentric and loathsome as Tomasz. Nonetheless, each time it seems like Komasa and Pacewicz edge too near sympathy for his or her trendy monster, Tomasz does one thing that reveals these emotions to be unearned and undesired by the filmmakers. And it’s that give and take that makes “The Hater” fascinating. We’ve all felt the sting of failure and the harm of unrequited love, however even with increasingly avenues to take action, there aren’t many individuals who would dare take these pains and weaponize them towards the world. A minimum of we are able to hope so.
Obtainable at this time on Netflix.