"The Hater" exposes the social impact of social media disinformation and fake news
The scariest thing about The Hater, the new Netflix movie directed by the Polish Jan Komasa, is the similarity with Brazilian current reality. "Rede de Ódio'', how it was translated, looks like what happens in our country politics - even the name in portuguese makes reference to Gabinete do Ódio (The Hate Office, how internally members of the government came to refer to the group that spread fake news and hate to public people online). However, the movie doesn't cover politics in general, showing the journey of Tomasz (Maciej Musiałowski), a classical antagonist.
"The Hater" is a 2020 polish thriller, written by Mateusz Pacewicz. The director and screenwriter's last collaboration, Corpus Christi, was nominated for the Oscar last year. The plot revolves around Tomasz, a law student in Warsaw who is expelled for plagiarizing a paper.
Reality in Fiction
After being expelled, he starts to spy his uncles, Robert (Jacek Koman) and Zofia (Danuta Stenka), who've been still paying for his university. He becomes obsessed with their daughter Gabi (Vanessa Aleksander) and begins to do everything to get closer to her reality.
Tomasz joins a marketing company that is devoted to destroying the reputation of people online, especially political candidates. An election is near, and his job is to destroy a liberal politician that Robert and Zofia support, by creating fake profiles and spreading fake news (It looks like something that already happened with Brazilian politics, right?). The movie shows the scary rise of white nationalism in Poland and how disinformation campaigns work, especially on social media.
The construction of the main character it's intriguing: sometimes, you support him, and other times, you abhor him. And these feelings are only possible because of Maciej Musialowski's excellent performance. Your emotions are clear, but you can't even hear his words. Script, direction and acting worked in harmony during the shoots. Also, post-production contributed to this exceptional end result, always focusing on Tomasz's reaction to actions and presenting an inaccurate rhythm. Cinematography's choice of always focusing the camera on the protagonist works in a magnificent way.
How the Acts Turns Out [bf_image id="q8uk2n-3lgeow-ermow9"]
Some moments of The Hater differs from the narrative style that takes over the story, for example, when the video game graphics start to play a fundamental role in the movie. And, at various moments, the movie doesn't show what Tomasz is really capable of. The narrative goes on to the last consequences to the protagonist acts - but the story resolution is not how you imagine. At the end of The Hater, you need a few seconds to catch your breath and reflect about everything that was presented.
Tomasz has banal goals, but manages to achieve dangerous and harmful merits for society from his access to the internet and social media. The movie made me think: How many Tomasz personalities exist in our world? People use social media to manipulate, to hate and to hurt others. What is the limit on freedom speech? Can we post everything we think or want on the internet? While watching The Hater, a polish movie, I realized that it's not only in Brazil that we face the consequences of the digital world. And they can be worse than we think.