The Hater, a Polish thriller, captivates with its young nerd culture gone awry on social media. The movie is intelligent, never simplifying the internecine competition between the elite college professional and those who yearn for that life. The Hater reveals a cold, ruthless world of postmodern haves and have-nots. The online emotional vengeance and despair are palpable as the young computer hacker,Tomasz, wreaks havoc on those he most wants to replace. Channeling his sociopathic, obsessive behavior into a place designed to enhance it: Facebook.
Tomasz’s zeal stems partly from humiliation at being found to be plagiarizing in law school and also partly from his benefactor’s family’s condescension towards him. Tomasz masterminds a smear campaign against those who have considered him socially inferior, using racism, xenophobia, and homophobia as not just tools of division but ways to get ahead at the expense of others.
Weaponizing social media as a troll farm to recruit others with a similar sense of grievance against the world, Tomasz takes on institutional complacency and smugness. He wonders if their situation will always remain the same. In a disturbing but original way, The Hater pounds at the technological anxiety that increasingly seems to infuse societies worldwide. A very nihilistic perspective on the internet’s tentacles into our lives. Well done!
Note: The Tribeca Film Festival winner for Best International Narrative Feature Award 2020. Now available on Netflix streaming.