Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Abdellatif Kechiche, Remy K. Selma, Robin Wright, Jim Ryan, Starla Benford
Director: Jeff Stanzler
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
A story of anger & revenge so timely it could be true. It begins when ashade a muslim cab driver picks up phoebe a well-heeled professional woman. When phoebe wants to exonerate ashades imprisoned brother a series of event... more »
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A Sorry Mess
Caesar M. Warrington | Lansdowne, PA United States | 10/27/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Phoebe (Robin Wright Penn), a divorced and detached staffer for a New York based, MTV style music video network, longs for the mood and feeling of 9/11--most especially for the way her self-absorbed boss Phyllis (Sandra Oh) had relied on her for emotional support back then. Trouble begins when Syrian-born cabdriver Ashade (actor/director Abdellatif Kechiche) picks up Phoebe and he tells her about his family's problems. Phoebe starts deceiving Ashade, letting him think she can help get his innocent brother released from detention in Guantanamo. After Ashade realizes Phoebe's mental instability and consequently distances himself from her, Phoebe turns ugly and plots revenge upon the Middle Easterner, and his French-Canadian sister-in-law (Eloise Bouchez), who is illegally resident in this country, as well.
SORRY, HATERS actually could have been a good psychodrama if it wasn't such an arty and self-indulgent mess. Being shot within in little over two weeks with a DV recorder, it stylistically has the feel of an amateur film posted on YouTube. Robin Wright Penn seems very uncomfortable in her role, looking in several scenes as if she's saying "What am I doing here?" to herself. Kechiche's lines are simply incomprehensible, mumbling in broken English and yelling in Arabic (while subtitles are provided for the Arabic dialogue, I suggest you activate your close captioning for whenever this guy speaks). Moreover, Kechiche, a Tunisian, is seriously miscast; Syrians, like the Lebanese, have much Greek, Roman, and Armenian blood flowing through their veins, and are generally more fair-skinned than this actor (think of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad). For some reason Americans--regardless of whichever end of the political spectrum they congregate--feel this need to stress the notion of color difference into our dealings with Muslims, despite those differences being slight and, for the most part, illusory.
What is most disturbing, however, is the attempt SORRY, HATERS makes to force upon sane and rational viewers its message that we Americans are really the nihilistic predators and terrorizers. As with many nowadays who are socially and politcally left-of-center, it wants for us to acknowledge our society's consumerist ambitions, in combination with increased emotional alienation and self-loathing, as something as hateful and destructive as any extreme Islamist ideology.
Speaking of self-loathing, this movie's writer and director, Jeff Stanzler, is overwhelmed by it. There is some major--albeit confused--contempt for the trendy and the 'progressive,' who, assumedly, inhabit Stanzler's personal and professional life. Naturally, a man as devout as Ashade (who keeps to his ablutions and prayers under even the most stressful situations) doesn't merely enter into some sort of relationship with a strange middle-aged American woman, he also handles dogs, allows alcohol in his home and, better yet, recognizes and supports his brother's kafir wife. Yes, of course, we do have the gratuitous scene of thuggish Homeland Security agents copping cheap feels (naturally) off of Ashade's homely sister-in-law after she passes out from interrogation. But it's those characters and types, otherwise often favorably portrayed in independent films such as this, which are the real targets of Stanzler's disdain: Phoebe's boss, Phyllis MacIntyre, the head of a major cable music channel, is married to a slight and diminutive house husband, complete with downy beard and a moptop of hair. Stanzler shows Phyllis to be mercenary and a narcissist, producing violent, expletive-ridden rap videos, but whose top rated program, "Sorry, Haters," a CRIBS-style reality show that glorifies the ghetto fabulous and all things crass and materialistic. Most poignant of all, however, is the type of woman that is Phoebe herself. While Phoebe is portrayed as a successful middle-aged professional, she is also emotionally stunted; a woman who compensates for her ex-husband having full custody of their daughter by doting over her little lapdog and yearning to recapture that moment when Phyllis (who Phoebe despises otherwise) was afraid that the terrorists were coming to get her next and looked to her for security and comfort. Such women once represented the feminist ideal, but Stanzler reduces them to parodies, making it seem as if they are symptomatic of the West's decadence and dysfunction that is polluting the rest of the world. He also seems to be saying that it is from women such as these that men such as Ashade or even the 9/11 hijackers must struggle against with their pious purity. Such sentiments are a disgrace and are as spit in the face of every New Yorker who suffered through that day, regardless of whatever their lifestyles or politics. Others may wonder what it would take to make a Jeff Stanzler understand the trauma and loss of that day. Unfortunately, the Jeff Stanzlers of this country do understand, and they just don't care.
Now about the little dog...Stanzler makes a really cheap shot at the very end with that little pooch. While it is quite unlikely, if I ever come across the man he's got a slap to the back of his head coming from me over the sick finale to this sorry mess of a movie, which stinks worse than a well used port-a-potty on a summer's hottest day.
Not to be missed!
M. Colford | Boston, MA USA | 02/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This rollercoaster ride of a film was my #1 film when I saw it at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival, and if nothing else, it is certainly a film that made the biggest impact. When businesswoman Phoebe (Penn) hops into a cab driven by the Arabic Ashade (Kechiche) neither he nor the audience could possibly predict where this cab drive will lead. Along the way we meet Eloise (Bouchez), Ashade's sister-in-law, who is struggling to provide assistance to her husband, who was deported from the country after running afoul of the heightened post 9/11 security procedures at the airport. There is also Phyllis (Sandra Oh) Phoebe's co-worker, who is unaware of the drama unfolding around her.
Stanzler wrote SORRY, HATERS (the title comes from an MTV-like network's reality show) in response to the emotional impact of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 on ordinary residents of New York City. His screenplay is complex and surprising, but with much more depth than some of the twists and turns might suggest. The acting by Kechiche, Bouchez, and Oh is top-notch, but it's Robin Wright Penn who truly shines in SORRY, HATERS and her fearless, powerful performance will leave you breathless.
Aaron Gutsell | Clementon, NJ | 08/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Unfortunately we don't see very much of Robin Wright Penn; she's like a rare vintage wine, and you savor what little you get. In a movie full of twists and turns, Penn has us going as a high-powered exec, then a lowly number-cruncher, followed by a psycho terrorist, then suddenly she is a vulnerable sweatheart on the verge of redemption, followed by a cold-blooded psychopath. Sybil cannot compete with Robin Wright Penn; and that is giving away too much. To enjoy the full effect of the movie, it is better to take it at face value and just follow along to be astounded by the depth of disturbance that 9/11 could create in one individual.
So we're five years on from 9/11 now. Big Hollywood is coming out with its exploitation flicks. Having seen none of the forthcoming productions, I will reserve judgement, but did Nick Cage really need to go there? What we have in "Sorry, Haters" is something far more personal and downstream, a really complex 9/11 ramification that somehow transmogrifies a victim into a victimizer. The film's final twist may have been unnecessary, but at least the writer/director was able to one-up a savvy audience and went places that you just could not see coming. The movie is helped considerably by excellent supporting roles, Abdellatif Kechiche and Sandrah Oh shine in a tightly scripted nail-biter."
Great film, unpredictable and alarming
Denise P | DC | 03/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Great film, unpredictable and alarming
I love and own this movie but you may feel repulsed by Robin Wright Penn's character, Phoebe. This film is psychological drama. Miss Penn plays a highly disturbed single, jealous, manipulative individual living in New York City.
Penn's character hides these traits with a mousey, shy and indifferent demeanor. But wait, her personality is ever changing. From the beginning of the film you're trying to figure her character out along with an innocent taxi driver, played by Abdel Kechiche.
Some feel Robin's character became ill because of 911, I think she was already sick prior to the event and uses it to feed her psychosis. However you may interpret this movie you won't forget the alarming brutality of this film.
Robin Write Penn gives a riveting performance that sends you spinning with her changing personality.
Abdel Kechiche character, Ashade's life is victimized to the point of no return.