Film review La Haine (15)

La Haine

La Haine - Credit: Archant

Mathieu Kassovitz’s trailblazing movie about racial division and police brutality in the Paris suburbs is a tremendous movie which worryingly hasn’t dated a bit

La Haine

La Haine - Credit: Archant

Along with Do The Right Thing, this was an early mainstream example of the post-Poitier era of films on race: where the heat of the night is a riot and nobody ever learns that actually we’re all the same under the skin.

Kassovitz’s study of racial division and police brutality is based on a joke set up. After a night of rioting a Jew, an Arab and a Black man walk out of their Parisian Banlieue and go uptown. Guess the punchline.

The film is a balancing act between keeping it real, and making a movie.

The first half is the trio to-ing and bro-ing around their neighbourhood, examining the debris from the night before, swearing vengeance on the pigs and insulting each other constantly.


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Then the camera takes to the skies as a DJ mixes out of top floor window and the film takes off with it, moving from social realism to movie reality as the three of them head into big city on a fish-out-of-water misadventure.

It’s still a tremendous film, which depressingly hasn’t dated at all.

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4/5 stars

Starring Vincent Cassel, Hubert Kounde and Said Taghmaoui. French with subtitles. In Cinemas. Running time: 96 mins.

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