Tomasz (Maciej Musialowski) has what might politely be known as grey moral boundaries. He’s launched dealing with down the school on the regulation college he attends, who’ve caught him plagiarizing and are expelling him. In the following scene, he visits previous household buddies who’ve been serving to pay for regulation college, and never solely does he not inform them of his expulsion, however he “accidentally” leaves his telephone there and units it so he can hearken to what they are saying about him when he leaves. They assume he’s creepy. They’re not unsuitable. However, 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: Facebook. Is Tomasz an opportunist scumbag or a sufferer of an internet tradition that has destroyed decency? Could he be each?
Like Mr. Bickle, a lot of Tomasz’s conduct is amplified by a crush—this one on an previous childhood pal 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 firms that exist to affect social media. Tomasz turns into a breakout star after initiating an internet smear marketing campaign in opposition to a well being guru, suggesting her product turns your hand yellow. He’s promoted to the actual 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 in opposition to Rudnicki through Facebook, hoping violence ensues within the center. When Gabi’s dad and mom, who’re large Rudnicki supporters, push Tomasz out of their life in a means 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 on-line fomentation of hate and concern has been and can proceed to be a significant material for filmmakers all over the world. Komasa, who made waves earlier this yr with “Corpus Christi,” and received an International Award for this movie on the digital Tribeca 2020, has a greater grasp on a few of it than a number of filmmakers who too typically break these tales down to “Internet Bad.” He’s finally telling a densely plotted story, one which connects dots from plagiarism to Facebook stalking to precise violence. There are instances when it looks like Komasa and screenwriter Mateusz Pacewicz have bitten off a bit greater than they will chew—they don’t appear to actually understand how younger individuals 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 bold drive to “The Hater” that retains it buzzing via its lengthy working time. Some of it might not be utterly plausible, however it’s actually by no means boring—Komasa even finds a solution to defy a typical visible concern in comparable films, wherein characters seem caught gazing telephone and laptop screens for a lot of the movie. The actual dialogue round “The Hater”—if there may be any for a film that Netflix is dumping quietly on a Wednesday—shall be round how we’re purported to really feel about Tomasz. Anti-heroes could be exhausting, and it may be robust to spend this a lot time with somebody as egocentric and loathsome as Tomasz. However, each time it looks 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 damage of unrequited love, however even with an increasing number of avenues to take action, there aren’t many individuals who would dare take these pains and weaponize them in opposition to the world. At least we will hope so. Available at the moment on Netflix.
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