Movies like The Hater are extremely rare and incredibly important. They tackle many of the issues our society is currently struggling with starting with mental health and the rise of extremism. I don’t want to overwhelm you with all the different issues but just know that all of them have been portrayed realistically. One of them was the way certain IT companies operate and how social media is clouding our judgment. As someone who works in IT and knows how these things function, I can tell you that the agency you’ll see in this movie is just one of many.
And the work environment is also eerily similar to my own personal experiences. It’s clear that the writer Mateusz Pacewicz delved deep into this subject. After this, I hope, intriguing intro, it’s time to talk about what this movie is about. The Hater is a Polish thriller with a healthy dose of dark humor which progressively starts getting darker and darker until it completely evaporates. We will follow Tomasz Giemza, a smart and resourceful young man who’s determined to make it to the top. And he’s not afraid of using any means necessary to get there.
As I was watching The Hater, I kept getting this uncomfortable feeling in my gut. The manipulation of reality was so frighteningly realistic that I was afraid that somebody might take advantage of it. And then it hit me. A lot of people were already using this manipulation of reality and causing a lot of problems. And The Hater is trying to demystify this issue and explain it to the general population. To make them see they’re being used and abused. And to make them realize that things can quickly take a turn for worse, much, much worse.
We meet Tomasz Giemza on one of the worst days of his life. He’s a bright young student who’s just been caught cheating. And the dean of his law university kicks him out. Now that’s a huge problem for Tomasz as the only reason he can afford to live and study in this big city is because of the money from his wealthy donors, the upper-class Krasucki family. So, he decides to lie to them and try to mend the situation in whatever way he can. And this decision will lead him on a dangerous path.
Despite all of these thought-provoking themes, The Hater remains an engaging character study. You can feel to a certain extent for our anti-hero Tomasz, driven by concepts publicly promoted in our society. Sure, he’s a sociopath, unable to fully process other people’s emotions but the problem is that his personality makes him the perfect guy for all these powerful positions. You already know that most CEOs have psychopathic traits so this is just an extension of that narrative.
What makes The Hater even more interesting is the fact that it’s a Polish movie. Poland is a country struggling with several issues like racism, homophobia, religious bigotry and corrupt politicians. And while most of the countries in Europe have the same problems, Poland seems to be the poster child of what might happen in the future. This is why I applaud and support everyone involved in making this movie. They showed us another face of this beautiful country and now I feel less worried about its future. And Polish movies like Hellhole and Nobody Sleeps In The Woods Tonight are quickly becoming my favorites.
I still can’t get over just how many different issues this movie tackles while still maintaining a gripping main story. It doesn’t matter if you live in Poland, Germany, or America, this movie will be familiar. The characters will be familiar, with themes, and pretty much everything else. Mostly because we’re all still living in this tribal system of values we can’t get rid of for the life of us.
Director: Jan Komasa
Writer: Mateusz Pacewicz
Cast: Maciej Musialowski, Vanessa Aleksander, Danuta Stenka, Jacek Koman, Agata Kulesza
Fun Facts: The Hater won Best International Narrative Feature award at Tribeca Film Festival.