‘The Hater’ unfolds its noir premise in the underbelly of Warsaw, where cynical and mindless online journalists are determined to do just about anything to gain more fortune and credibility. Through this, the film explores the threats of social media, the dark web, and propaganda that we come across almost every day. Creating a balance between character study and crime thriller genres, it leads to an intense and unpredictable finale. So without further ado, let’s break down the ending of the movie.
‘The Hater’ follows Tomasz, a law student who gets expelled from college for plagiarism. As a result, even his wealthy benefactors, the Krasuckis, turn their backs on him and force their daughter, Gabi, to stay away from him. When Gabi starts ignoring him, Tomasz realizes that he can only win her heart by acquiring a better social status. Highly self-aware and skilled at manipulating people, Tomasz lands a job at a small-time PR company that thrives on fake news that defames celebrities and politicians.
Tomasz, who proves to be an expert in creating online propaganda, learns quickly and rises in ranks at his new company. Impressed by his work, his cunning boss, Baeta, asks him to take up the job of discrediting politician Pawel Rudnicki, who is a candidate for the upcoming Mayor elections. Using Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” as his bible, he devises a strategy that not only allows him to jeopardize Rudicnki’s hold on the elections but also helps him seek revenge from the Krasuckis.
Regardless of one’s religion or gender, Pawel shows his support for refugees. Tomasz uses this as a cue and finds an extreme right-wing activist named Guzek, who relentlessly uses his blog to criticize Pawel and his support for refugees. He meets Guzek through an online dark web game and gets him involved in his grand scheme of taking down Pawel. He begins by first manipulating his way into becoming a volunteer in Pawel’s party. Once he’s in, he acquires the politician’s confidential information. He then gives it away to Guzek, who uses the same data to ask condescending questions to the politician during one of his campaigns. Along with this, Tomasz also drugs Pawel, takes him to a gay bar, and purposefully makes out with him. He then publicly releases a video of the politician drunk dancing in a gay bar.
The deeper Tomasz digs into his hate for the Krasuckis, the more destructive ideas he gets with his ideas of destroying Pawel. With his final plan, he convinces Pawel to organize a meeting with his support committee, which also includes the Krasuckis as well. He then bribes Guzek to raid this meeting and kill everyone who comes in his way. To execute this, Tomasz even steals a gun from a local shooting range.
In the final moments of the film, Gabi shows up at the support committee meeting with her parents and her sister. She apologizes to Tomasz for abandoning him just because her parents had asked her to. Due to this, for a moment, Tomasz starts questioning his motives and even thinks about stopping the raid. But that’s when Guzek shows up at the venue and starts killing everyone in sight. While the world around him burns right in front of his eyes, Tomasz finds an opportunity to get his old life back—he takes down Gunez, becomes a national hero, and earns the respect of the Krasuckis.
A few days after this event, Baeta confronts Tomasz by claiming that she knows all about his involvement with Gunez and the massacre at the support committee meeting. But Tomasz proves that he still has the upper hand by blackmailing her. He warns her that if she tells anything about him to the cops, he’ll reveal all the malicious fake news activities her company is involved in. In the end, Tomasz, in some ways, becomes the owner of the PR company after establishing control over his boss and further cements his hold as an anti-hero. In the film’s closing moments, Tomasz sits with the grieving Krasuckis after gaining their trust again. But is this the end of his evil acts? Probably not.
For Tomasz, the movie ends on somewhat of an optimistic note since he can now expertly manipulate his surroundings in his favor. But Baeta’s story shows the negative side of sensationalization and misrepresentation of facts on social media and other news outlets. All her life, Baeta got away with her immoral acts of defying journalistic ethics and masking facts with lies. But ultimately, with Tomasz’s involvement, she suffered because of her previous unethical actions of wrongly defaming celebrities and politicians.
Instead of being a psychological exploration, the film serves more as a mental journey for its main character. In the opening scene itself, Tomasz blatantly lies when he gets accused of plagiarism. This scene establishes that he always had underlying sociopathic tendencies. But these only surfaced when he hit rock bottom with both his family and his career. He then scours the internet to look for potential job opportunities at marketing firms but no one hires him. Ultimately, even after knowing all about the moral consequences of his actions, he purposefully gets involved with a shady PR company. Following this, the more progressed in his line of work, the more accepting he became towards adopting immoral practices to climb the social ladder. In the closing scene, Tomasz seemingly reaches a point where he has no regrets or remorse for his previous actions. In fact, now, he seems even more determined than ever to pull off something even bigger.
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