Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Hater Review: A Political Thriller In The Social Media Age

Release date: July 30, 2020
Running time: 135 minutes
Starring: Maciej Musialowski, Vanessa Aleksander, Danuta Stenka 

Tomasz (Musialowski) is searching for identity and hoping to impress long time friend Gabi (Aleksander).  He finds a purpose in the dark world of social-media smear tactics and driven by his need to impress Gabi and her family, he soon finds he has quite the talent for it.  However, as he gets deeper into this world, he realizes that it has very real consequences.

The Hater is a Polish film but many of the themes and tactics would be just at home in an American movie.  The idea of exploring the dark side of social media is an interesting and sadly, very timely topic right now.  And the Hater does this in a dramatized way with some stellar actors.  Musialowski is amazing as Tomasz.  Much of the movie is driven by his need to succeed, and he is so good throughout this. He can be charming but also ruthless.  His character goes to all sorts of lengths to succeed and Musialowski is believable throughout.  And often times Tomasz's thoughts and motivations are not said, but are just depicted on his face, which Musialowski does very well.  Maciej Stuhr as up and coming Mayoral candidate Pawel Rudnicki is very convincing as a politician, with a genuine caring persona.  The rest of the cast are well cast and do an admirable job, but are not on the screen much outside of the main characters.  

The Hater's themes are very timely and appropriate especially with an upcoming election.  It shows the dark side of social media, not simply form a political standpoint.  Tomasz is very adept at learning about people through their online profiles and this is depicted perfectly.  The story is interesting and has enough going on to keep the viewer engaged despite the movie's relatively long run time.  And one thing that The Hater does amazingly well is in its sound design.  The film has a fantastic use of sound.  It has some really great electornic beats to set the tone, but often times the best use of sound is when there is none.  Sometimes it is the fact that there is no sound on screen that is really striking, and in these times The Hater uses this to really draw the viewer in.  The sound cuts off when it needs to and really emphasizes to the viewer what is going on.  It is really stellar and something that you notice instantly.  

The Hater explores a timely issue with an amazing performance by Musialowski, stellar sound design, and a dark, engaging story.  Make sure to Like this one!

Watch it.

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