La Haine

La Haine ★★★★★

“The world is yours.”

Powerful. If I could describe this film in a word, it’d be powerful. There’s always this quality about slow burners that just draw you in, you’re engulfed in the story and feel as though you are living through it. It’s an effect of derealization, where life after the credits roll doesn’t feel real. La Haine is one of the few films where I’ve really felt that. For the hour and thirty minute runtime, the story world becomes your reality. Damn this is beautifully written and directed. From the strategically placed graffiti and signage, to the Carhartt beanie that Hubert dons to hide his inner self, I love this film stylistically. The cinematography is beautiful. One thing I noticed right away was the blocking, which does a fantastic job of communicating the emotions of the three protagonists in relation to one another. Kassovitz knows when to orbit the camera to reveal a character’s thoughts, or extend a shot to maximize tension, or to use a dolly zoom to postface and sum up the previous scene. Oh man, I could go on and on about this one. Vinz’s quotation of De Niro’s famous mirror scene sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the film. It not only helps illuminate Vinz as a character but it also builds the world because it opens up the possibilities of the ultra-violence. Speaking of character, the three are constructed to have conflicting personalities with each other, which also aids the effect of anticipation and tension. There are so many opportunities for Vinz to explode but either Hubert or Säid is there to level him out. It’s like a bomb without a timer, we don’t know when it’ll explode. This film normalizes a variety of topics that are uber relevant to society today—violence, police brutality, the corruption of government, poverty—and that’s what film has the power to communicate. It’s a way for the artist to mirror reality, to reflect the atrocities of life back onto us and force us to contemplate them head on. La Haine is a masterpiece, no question. I feel like I have so much more to say but I can’t articulate my thoughts. Further analysis coming soon fasho.  I think this is gonna shoot up my favorites list very quickly.