What to make of this digital video film written and directed
by Jeff Stanzler? SORRY, HATERS has been called both a political
drama and a psychological thriller. I'm not exactly sure in which
category I would put it. In fact, I'm not entirely sure that it is
successful, except as a showcase for the often overlooked talents
of actress Robin Wright Penn.
As the film opens, we see Wright Penn attempting to
withdraw a large sum of money from an ATM. Into the bank
vestibule comes an Arab cab driver Ashade (Tunisian
actor/director Abdelatif Kechiche). Once they both leave the
bank, Wright Penn gets into the back of his cab and asks him
to drive around until she decides where they are going. Eventually,
she tells him to head to Englewood, New Jersey. They pull up to
a house where a child is playing outside with his father. Another
car arrives and a woman emerges and the trio head into the house.
At this point, Wright Penn's character exits the cab and engages
in an act of vandalism. By what she says, we are led to believe
this is the home of her ex-husband who has gained custody of their
child and settled into a new life with a new wife. But, like Ashade,
we should be very careful to believe anything her character says.
There are several twists and turns which I won't reveal.
Suffice it to say that Wright Penn's character finagles her way into
Ashade's life, meeting his sister-in-law (Elodie Bouchez) and
offering to help with a legal matter.
The performers do yeoman work, including Sandra Oh, who
appears in a surprising role. Wright Penn does some of her best
screen acting in a long time and she's matched by Kechiche.
Even after listening to the less than enlightening commentary
track on the DVD, I have no idea what Stanzler intended in making
this story. My opinion is that he is attempting to find a link to
the action of Wright Penn's character with that of certain government
officials who utilized a national tragedy to promulgate their own
agenda. I may be way off the mark, but it's the only way I can
see to make sense of the film.
MPAA Rating: None
Running time: 87 mins.
Viewed on DVD. The commercial DVD includes a discussion
of the film moderated by Tim Robbins.
|© 2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.