The Polish crime thriller The Hater, which just hit Netflix, is concurrently cartoonish and way as well genuine. It follows disgraced ex-law university student Tomasz, a hollow-eyed creep who appears like a cross involving Michael Cera and a Bond villain, as he makes an attempt to acquire about a childhood crush by becoming a shady electronic advisor tasked with destroying the progressive political prospect her relatives supports. He excels at deception and misdirection. Immediately after creating chaos in the Polish conditioning influencer neighborhood by production a scandal involving turmeric, Tomasz slides into a electronic underworld complete of Islamophobic white supremacists. He will become their phantom puppet grasp by way of fake social media posts and coded discussions inside of of a videogame with a prospectless younger white person who lives unhappily with his grandmother and is obsessed with—yes, you guessed it—guns. In summary, it reads like an more-mindful following-school specific.

The movie’s historical past is a bit of a spoiler: Its launch had to be delayed for the reason that the plot cuts uncomfortably close to a genuine lifestyle tragedy. At a Christmas charity celebration very last calendar year, Gdansk’s liberal mayor Pawel Adamowicz was assassinated onstage. In The Hater, Tomasz’s manipulations also culminate in a bloody assassination of a fictional left-leaning Polish politician named Pawel.

The film’s director, Jan Komasa, has informed tales about on the net lives lived darkly in advance of. Even though Netflix would make no point out of it in any respect, The Hater is truly a sequel to Komasa’s 2011 movie, The Suicide Area, which is about a teenager whose lifestyle will become a catastrophe following a online video of him kissing yet another boy on a dare receives circulated on the net. You really do not have to have to observe The Suicide Area to fully grasp The Hater. Their plots do not overlap. It is additional of a spiritual successor, a identical fable about society’s technological anxieties, up-to-date for a new ten years. The jury at the Tribeca Movie Festival surely observed its caricature of electronic disinformation campaigns compelling—The Hater was between its winners.

At situations, The Hater feels tiring and overstuffed. It grinds via an terrible large amount of plot as Tomasz evolves from amoral-but-puppyish plagiarizing law university student to Facebook troll-for-seek the services of to orchestrator of assassination. Some of the chatter about social media seems a minor stilted and oversimplified (although that could be the subtitles). Tomasz’s disinformation campaigns by themselves are lessened to a cinema-pleasant syrup, relying on rapid montages—yellow fingers, on the net vitriol, a sobbing guru, gun ranges, white supremacists marching in the street—to illustrate his do the job. Then there’s Tomasz himself, going for walks a fine line involving the outer reaches of skillfully sanctioned, satisfactory social actions and anything much additional bleak. Immediately after looking at him do factors like bug his crush’s dwelling and then share a flirty dance with her at a silent disco, you’re regularly on edge for indicators that The Hater could be as well sympathetic to its gray minor monster.

In the end, the movie appreciates that Tomasz is lousy and his destiny is grim, but he’s still the antihero. Even though the specifics of what happens close to him and what he’s capable to accomplish truly feel exaggerated, his psychological arc does truly feel plausible, and which is what resonates with the viewer. Offered that Netflix quietly introduced the movie on a Wednesday, it isn’t anticipating Tomasz to come to be an edgelord counterculture icon in the vein of Joaquin Phoenix’s (and even Heath Ledger’s) Joker. Or it’s possible it truly is truly that they’re anxious he will. Tomasz is surely a agent of their darkish-and-wild type, toned down just a little for The Hater’s additional real looking environment. He confines his impudent ghoulishness to cubicles and MMORPGs somewhat than painting it on his experience. Plus, he wears prolonged coats, and for some reason the red-pilled obtain that irresistible.