Reviews

La Haine: Ultimate Edition

4

In 1995, La Haine hit a politically snoozy France like a petrol bomb wake-up call, but since then punk ethnographer Mathieu Kassovitz has directed just three films and taken 13 acting roles in other people's films. Not quite the enfant terrible everyone thought he was, then... Still, his explosive cult favourite remains a breeze-block milestone in angry urban cinema and this new three-disc 'Ultimate Edition' (with - caress it, lovingly - limited-edition steel case) goes a long way towards reminding us why.

Pepped by its pummelling, French hip-hop soundtrack (included here as Disc Three) and using concrete suburbs as a bleak, eloquent backdrop, La Haine's abrasive social-realism comes energised via Scorsese and Spike Lee stylistics. Its tense street-life portrait sees three bored young drifters - an Arab (Saïd Taghmaoui), an African (Hubert Koundé) and a Jew (Vincent Cassel) - taking a 24-hour freefall through poverty, frustration, alienation, social turmoil and police harassment, before - ultimately, inevitably - hitting bottom at the business end of a loaded handgun.

A decade on, the from-nowhere potency has dimmed a little, but the superb performances and sharp, textured detail remains.

Film Details

  • 15
  • UK Theatrical Release Date: June 5th 2006
  • Genre