On a personal note, I remember the first time i saw it. Before i had any cinematic standards, this film managed to hold on to me complete attention while supplying my mind with enough thought to give attention to every word or gesture. I was interrupted about an hour and a half in, only to resume it in another room on an old VHS tape deck. The instant the climax reached the film, brainfire occurred.
La Haine is about a group of young friends, all from different walks of life and ethnicity's, coping through an era of riots and political uprising. All the drama leads to one of their own being in critical condition after an episode of police brutality. This brings Daniel Day-Lewis's epic role in the film In The Name of the Father to mind.
Without the soundtrack, most of it's intensity and look on rebels would be lost. Featuring great booming tracks from the best of French rap groups, both mainstream and underground, It delivers an amazing feeling to witness the blossoming of a hateful society.
The film starts the careers of Vincent Cassel, Saïd Taghmaoui, and Hubert Koundé. Cassel has an amazing career and an impressive filmography, Saïd has been in many films; many being a mixed bag and is scheduled for the new G.I. Joe film, and Hubert did The Constant Gardener and now mainly does television. The film has changed many lives and even caught closet-lesbian Jodie Foster's attention. Kassovitz hides his inspirations clearly in his work. One influence i noticed, was how Vinz was modeled partly after Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver.
Its message is of the most important kind. It chronicles the downfall of youthful patience and holstered emotions. After Vinz discovers a gun left from a pig in a riot, he decides he wants to make a change around the banlieue (Suburbs.) La Haine must be seen to be believed. It is the highlight of Kassovitz's career and is a must see for anyone who is interested in politics, youth, urban decay, and French cinema. There is no doubt in my mind that La Haine changed the face of France, and even French cinema.