Have you ever felt that in spite of all your efforts, sacrifices and good results, the rest of the world simply treats you as if you deserve nothing more than the leftovers from others? What would you be willing to do to finally be someone in that hermetic world in which social mobility is becoming harder and harder?
Polish director Jan Komasa uses these questions as the framework for his 2020 film, The Hater (Original title in Polish: Sala samobójców. Hejter ), a very interesting study of character that – in 136 minutes – reveals to us how social networks actually work starting from the positioning of brands, the so-called influencers, to politics.
Now, if after watching the movie you have been left with questions, doubts or concerns, do not worry, because right now and without further ado we will explain this movie in detail. Let’s start!
1 ^ In which country does The Hater take place? What is the context of the film?
The Hater takes place in Poland, more precisely in the city of Warsaw, as it is visible in the city skyline, as well as in its historical area. The film has a very contemporary context, analyzing how political campaigns are peppered with malicious propaganda that seeks extremism to attract attention. Here, we clearly see the side of the white supremacists, opposed to immigration from the Middle East, and on the other hand the side of the Democrats who favor immigration and a deep integration with Europe.
A very curious point of the film is that on the side of «the good guys» is the elite who do not allow anyone outside their strict circle to even dare to be one of them. Something that indeed, is quite common.
2 ^ What does Tomek really want?
Simple, Tomek (Short for Tomasz Giemza) wants to become part of the Krasuckis, a distinguished family from Warsaw, specifically he wants to join them through his daughter Gabi, with whom Tomek is obsessed.
Tomek knows the Krasuckis so well because he is from a town where the family has some kind of country house, to the point that they decide to give him economic support so he can go to a law school.
3 ^ Why was Tomek kicked out of Law School?
In his second year in college, Tomek is expelled from law school for plagiarism. At some point in his passing thesis for the second year, Tomek wrote something by another author without using quotation marks or making references to the author; so, his teachers kicked him out. Now the movie is ambiguous as to whether Tomek did it on purpose or not.
What is still curious is that one of Tomek’s teachers is a figure recognized for her focus on human rights. However, when it comes to Tomek she is relentless and even cruel. Another sign of hypocrisy and double standards, maybe?
4 ^ How did Tomek gain the confidence of Beata Santorska?
Well, maybe confidence is not the most precise word to describe what Beata feels for Tomek. Let’s call that respect. Tomek finds Beata in a bar where he talking to someone on her phone, remarking she needs a presentation for a customer who wants to destroy an influencer who is literally taking away a slice of his healthy lifestyle sales.
Tomek finds that one of the influencer’s star products is a drink. Tomek also finds on the Internet that the drink could be connected to the appearance of yellow spots on the hands, thereby creating a whole stigmatization campaign. He hires a bunch of fake accounts in charge of posting and reposting photos showing the alleged negative effects of the drink. The influencer ends up shutting down her YouTube channel and Tomek gets the job, and quickly moves on to Politics along with Kamil, who frequently teases him.
5 ^ What is Tomek’s goal in Pawel Rudnicki’s campaign?
Pawel Rudnicki is the candidate for mayor of Warsaw, from the group of pro-European Democrats, in contradiction with the candidate of the nationalist right-wing movement. Rudnicki’s opponent hires Beata’s marketing agency to destroy Pawel, who is leading the vote intention.
Tomek creates an entire social media campaign to attack Rudnicki, but decides that the best strategy is to make a fool of the candidate, using a puppet, Guzek, a subject obsessed with white supremacy in Europe. And he also uses himself.
6 ^ Is Tomek Gay?
No, of course Tomek is not gay. However, he plays that card with Pawel Rudnicki who is obviously homosexual. Tomek takes Pawel to a gay club, convincing him to dance together, and then kiss him in public. Pawel ends up dancing in the middle of the disco and of course the photos get viral. This move grants Tomek many more points along with Beata. However Tomek has other plans.
7 ^ Why did Tomek orchestrate Guzek’s attack on the Pawel Rudnicki event?
Because Tomek needed to regain the confidence of the Krasucki, after they found out he was kicked out of school. He had already gained ground by winning Pawel’s trust, and becoming a key player in his campaign. However, he wanted to be much more.
Tomek, posing as the leader of an international white supremacist organization, tried to convince Guzek to attack Pawel’s event, but he only agreed in exchange for money. Guzek initially demands 20,000 zlotys (about US $ 5,000), but they finally manage to negotiate at 10,000, Tomek gets 8,000 from Beata and puts the plan into action.
The plan is much simpler than it seems, but quite risky: Guzek is going to commit a massacre in the event, and Tomek will play all or nothing, trying to stop Guzek, if he succeeds he becomes a national hero. If he fails, he dies or ends up in prison. The plan works.
8 ^ What does the final scene of The Hater mean?
The final scene of the film shows Tomek fully fulfilling his purpose of infiltrating the Krasucki family. From being the boy they mocked for not knowing how to eat shrimp, he became the support of the Krasuckis after they lose their eldest daughter and the one they were more proud of.
The Krasuckis, who have not the slightest bit of confidence in Gabi, finally consider that the only option they have of having a successful, brilliant, talented son who stands up for the family is through the marriage of Tomek, now a national hero, with Gabi. .
9 ^ Is The Hater a sequel to another movie?
Matter of fact it is. The original name of the film in Polish is Suicide Room: Hater. Suicide Room is a 2011 film, which tells the story of Dominik Santorski, the eldest son of Beata that we see in a photograph. To summarize, Dominik suffers persistent harassment in networks after his attraction to one of his fellow students is revealed. This event pushes him to a kind of gloomy on-line group of people who self-harm, called The Suicide Room. Dominik eventually dies in connection with his activity in the group.
10 ^ What is the message of the film?
I think the clearest message from this film is that we should not fall into the game of scandals, trends and fashion issues on social networks. Maybe in 2008, when these networks were just starting, they used to be spaces to share opinions and generate trends, but at some point the marketers got their way in and turned everything into hell, in which we all are very easily manipulated.
A second message from this movie: Don’t treat others like trash, just because you’re richer, more handsome, smarter, or more talented than others. This usually generates terrible consequences, because what for you is simply a vindication of your status, for others it is a very serious affront, which in the best case is not going to be easily forgotten, and in the worst, it will motivate someone to destroy you.
Questions? Annotations? More doubts? The comments section is open just below this post so feel free to use it. See you in the next installment of Ending Explained here at El Sabanero X.