Friday, August 25, 2006


Written by Fantasma el Rey

I took this assignment from El Bicho, because he’s a friend and most importantly my boss here at the Masked Movie Snobs. So I accepted with the confidence of a child going swimming for the first time alone; shaking but thinking that it could be fun. Armed with the teachings of the master himself and encouragement from my ever-loving Kitten, I pressed play on the DVD player.

Political thriller? Maybe. A twisted view on relationships? Sure. Well done? Yes.

Sorry, Haters is an involving story that combines all these elements into an 87-minute roller coaster of deception and trickery, which may leave you feeling nauseous. The story is about an honest man being pulled, better still, allowing himself to be pulled into and destroyed by a web of lies. Anyone who has trusted someone even after that trust has been broken can relate to this; hopefully, nowhere near this level. This is one film that has to be seen to fully understand and to do it justice, so I’m not going to give away much about the plot at all here. Sorry, Haters!

As a political thriller, the films tackles issues involving a post-9/11 New York, with fine performances by Abdellatif Kechiche and Robin Wright-Penn. A twisted, lonely and angered woman, Phoebe (Wright-Penn) pushes her way into the cab and life of Ashade (Kechiche). She discovers an opportunity to use his problems in an effort to reaffirm her self-worth. The political view here, being the way that some Americans still let racism prevail in their look upon Muslims, particularly those in America.

As far as relationships we see an interaction of two people who are harboring feelings of self-hate. Since the events of 9/11, Phoebe no longer feels important and is trying to find meaning to her life. Ashade is struggling to the do the right thing due to his attraction to a woman he can’t have. As their worlds collide, we view their vulnerability. Phoebe is willing to go to dangerous lengths to create purpose in her life. Ashade is a good man willing to believe that this woman is really trying to help him, even after she damages his life.

I thought that this film was going to be a handful for me to watch, it seems that I’m not so bad at this film-watching thing. While listening to the audio commentary with director Jeff Stanzler and Wright-Penn and watching the bonus roundtable discussion moderated by Tim Robbins, I found that I picked up on most of the importance issues of this film. They discussed certain scenes and things that people might have missed, such as the placement of photos in certain shots or the importance of the actions in a particular scene; even the fact that this film was a study in people and relationships in society in general.

This is the kind of stuff that I learned to pick up on not only by learning from El Bicho, but by paying attention and actually “watching” different films. I think that too many people no longer know how to “watch” movies. It’s seems that to most folks movies are just images that flash on a screen and that’s it, something explodes or we laugh and maybe feel enough for a character to have something get in our eye. I’m not saying I know all that I should about film but knowing that I can enjoy a film like Sorry, Haters on a few different levels makes me proud of myself and those that I have studied with.

As an added note in the film there is a fictional television channel that has an important part in the film, Q-Dog. It’s an MTV-type station that’s most popular show is called Sorry, Haters, a Cribs-type show that allows the viewer to see how the new rich and famous spend their money. There are two scenes in which an opinion is expressed as to what affect channels such as that one have on the culture and our youth.

Any who ghoulies, I’m starting to rant and my kitten says “the music’s over so turn out the lights”. So… does Fantasma recommend this film? Yes I do. It’s no Citizen Kane but go out and see it for yourself. And for those that haven’t seen Kane, you should stop watching movies altogether until you see that one first. Rave on, cats!!!