Hate Crime – 2012 – Antisemitism at its worst
I sought out Hate Crime because I saw a documentary about Found Footage movies the other day – The Found Footage Phenomenon. It was an ok documentary but it didn’t bring much new to me. I might write something about it in another post later, we’ll see. But there were a few movie excerpts from different movies to visualize the different kinds of Found Footage movies. One of these examples was Hate Crime, and there were also fragments of interviews with some of the directors of the films displayed. One of them was the director of Hate Crime – James Cullen Bressack. It seemed really brutal and I was interested to see what this really was. I hadn’t heard about it before.
Obviously, the main plot is about violence carried out toward a Jewish family by three men in masks wearing Swastikas. That kind of made my thought wander towards Michael Haneke’s masterpiece Funny Games. Two men force themselves into a family home to play out their sick games filled with violence towards the family. Funny Games is such a multilayered film with all kinds of different messages that is too complex to go through here. But the main part about people breaking into someone’s home to play sick and deadly games with the innocent family seemed the same. My hope was high that Hate Crime would really be a revolting film that made me feel real disgust for the perpetrators.
Well, it starts with the birthday of the youngest child in the family. I think he turns nine or something. It’s not really important which age he is. What’s important is that this should be a happy family moment and that it’s abruptly disturbed by these three guys in masks. It goes from being a happy family moment to a nightmare in one second. So far so good. And by that, I mean that the whole purpose of the film is to create disgust, to take a stand against Hate Crimes or all violent crimes in general I think. But the plot is set around them being Jews and the three guys wearing swastikas. I guess it could just as easily be a homosexual couple being attacked or something else that is outside some narrow people’s “norm”.
I was so taken by the first acts of violence in the movie. It more or less came as a real shock out of nowhere. And that’s even when I knew this was gonna be a violent film. I did not expect it to start so abruptly. The backside of that is that it’s hard to maintain that level of tension. And, I think Hate Crime kinda fails to maintain that. There’s enough sadistic violence to go around but I think it lacks some motivation. I could understand if it was made out of ideology or just perverted sexual pleasure, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The motivation seems to be all over the place. Maybe that’s the point, to portray these bad guys as morons that really don’t know what they want or why they want it.
To me, it seems obvious that there’s a different level of intelligence among the perpetrators. They actually call themselves by the names One, Two, and Three. That’s a good way of hiding their identity of course. But… if the purpose were to kill this family, as it kinda seems to be, why sis they need to cover their identity? They also have masks on for no apparent reason. Well, maybe they seem scarier with a mask on? But then that’s a sexual motivation, to be as intimidating as possible while acting out these horrendous crimes. Maybe their intent wasn’t to kill at all, only to scare this family into moving out of there? But that doesn’t add up either.
But don’t get me wrong, there are really raw horrifying situations here. I won’t go into the details on how they play and torture their victims physically or mentally, but there is some pretty perverted stuff in here. But at the same time, there are kinda tender moments so I just don’t get it.
As a Found Footage movie it kinda works I think. I think the motivation for the camera being used is good most of the time. There are some scenes where I don’t feel it to be motivated at all and that kinda ruins the experience for me. I’m also not really convinced by the acting, neither by the perpetrators nor the victims. This is an element that’s an absolute must work in a Found Footage movie to make it effective and I think it lacks something in that department. I need to reflect that into my rating of the film. I don’t regret that I saw it at all, but I wish it would have given me more revolting emotions.