La Haine

La Haine ★★★★★

“Heard about the guy who fell off a skyscraper? On his way down past each floor, he kept saying to reassure himself: So far so good... so far so good... so far so good. How you fall doesn’t matter. It’s how you land!”

LA HAINE is a spectacle. It is riveting, full of potent anger and rage, from start to finish. A forceful and explosive look at the racial discord and challenging life in the housing projects outside of Paris, that conflict against France’s idolised egalitarian vision of itself.

It isn’t just a powerful political statement of the unequal cries amongst France’s internal unrest, but also an emotionally potent experience that follows the journey of three young men - born and bred in the projects, interacting with this surrounding as they long to escape it.

The cinematography is a wonder. The entire film is in black and white but so efficiently colours the world these characters interact in, with looming shadows that paint their pain and discontent, and contrasting shades that exhibit the looming, impending conflict arising between them and their surroundings.

For a film that is in black and white - and brilliantly uses this monochromic setting to capture the trivial world surrounding the three men - it so masterfully paints the world in various colours of injustice and disorder. In many ways, using colour instead of the film’s varying shades black and white would not have had the same effect in capturing the brutal, gritty tone of life in the projects.

It is an effectively stirring and fiery film, that so viscerally places us mid-centre into the lives of these three young men - so full of rage and feelings of rebellion - that live in the projects. Throughout the entire film, no shot, no action and no line seems out of place, with each scene delivering a gripping punch, adding to the ever-rising tension of the film. And it all ends with a scene that’s been building up for the entirety of the film. “It’s how you land.”

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