The Polish crime thriller The Hater, which just strike Netflix, is at the same time cartoonish and way too actual. It follows disgraced ex-regulation college student Tomasz, a hollow-eyed creep who appears to be like a cross in between Michael Cera and a Bond villain, as he attempts to win above a childhood crush by getting a shady digital specialist tasked with destroying the progressive political candidate her family members supports. He excels at deception and misdirection. Following developing chaos in the Polish health influencer group by manufacturing a scandal involving turmeric, Tomasz slides into a digital underworld complete of Islamophobic white supremacists. He gets their phantom puppet grasp by way of pretend social media posts and coded conversations within of a videogame with a prospectless young white guy who lives unhappily with his grandmother and is obsessed with—yes, you guessed it—guns. In summary, it reads like an excess-knowledgeable soon after-university specific.

The movie’s record is a little bit of a spoiler: Its release had to be delayed due to the fact the plot cuts uncomfortably shut to a actual everyday living tragedy. At a Christmas charity celebration final 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 explained to stories about on the internet lives lived darkly in advance of. Even though Netflix tends to make no point out of it in any way, The Hater is actually a sequel to Komasa’s 2011 motion picture, The Suicide Home, which is about a teen whose everyday living gets a disaster soon after a movie of him kissing another boy on a dare will get circulated on the internet. You do not have to have to enjoy The Suicide Home to comprehend The Hater. Their plots do not overlap. It’s extra of a spiritual successor, a equivalent fable about society’s technological anxieties, current for a new decade. The jury at the Tribeca Film Festival absolutely located its caricature of digital disinformation strategies compelling—The Hater was amid its winners.

At instances, The Hater feels tiring and overstuffed. It grinds by means of an terrible large amount of plot as Tomasz evolves from amoral-but-puppyish plagiarizing regulation college student to Facebook troll-for-use to orchestrator of assassination. Some of the chatter about social media would seem a small stilted and oversimplified (while that could be the subtitles). Tomasz’s disinformation strategies them selves are lowered to a cinema-helpful syrup, relying on speedy montages—yellow fingers, on the internet vitriol, a sobbing expert, gun ranges, white supremacists marching in the street—to illustrate his do the job. Then there is Tomasz himself, strolling a good line in between the outer reaches of professionally sanctioned, acceptable social habits and a little something far extra bleak. Following watching him do items like bug his crush’s home and then share a flirty dance with her at a silent disco, you are frequently on edge for signals that The Hater might be too sympathetic to its gray small monster.

Eventually, the motion picture is familiar with that Tomasz is negative and his fate is grim, but he’s nonetheless the antihero. Even though the details of what transpires all over him and what he’s ready to attain truly feel exaggerated, his psychological arc does truly feel plausible, and that’s what resonates with the viewer. Provided that Netflix quietly unveiled the motion picture on a Wednesday, it is just not anticipating Tomasz to turn out 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 actually that they’re anxious he will. Tomasz is absolutely a agent of their dim-and-wild kind, toned down just slightly for The Hater’s extra realistic environment. He confines his impudent ghoulishness to cubicles and MMORPGs somewhat than portray it on his face. Additionally, he wears lengthy coats, and for some explanation the crimson-pilled obtain that irresistible.