Tribeca Festival Capsule Reviews - "Hacking Hate" and "Darkest Miriam"

The Tribeca Festival programs a wide variety of films each year. The 2024 edition was no different. Here are capsule reviews of two noteworthy films from the current edition of the fest:

Hacking Hate - This 90-minute documentary focuses on My Vingren, a Swedish journalist who specializes in uncovering and exposing online white supremacist networks. She’s been described as a real-life version of Lisbeth Salander, the main character of the novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Director Simon Klose tracks her as she looks into the YouTube account of a guy who goes by the name “The Golden One.” (He looks like someone put Brad Pitt’s head onto the Hulk’s body.) This, in turn, causes her to stumble upon an American globetrotter whose social media accounts appear to be helping to radicalize and recruit angry young men into the white supremacist fold. We follow her subsequent investigation, which is full of unexpected twists and turns.

Also appearing in the film is Anika Collier Navaroli, the whistleblower who got Donald Trump kicked off Twitter after the January 6 insurrection. She talks about the complicity of social media platforms in spreading hate online. Her views provide a nice back-up to what Vingren is trying to do. Hacking Hate made me so angry that I seriously considered deleting all my social media accounts after seeing it. This is an urgent documentary that makes you realize how much power there can be in a single tweet or Facebook post.

Hacking Hate

Darkest Miriam - This is one of the boldest works I saw at Tribeca this year. I honestly can’t decide if I liked it or not, but I undeniably appreciated the unconventional storytelling. Miriam (Britt Lower) works at the Toronto Public Library. She keeps finding strange letters scattered around. They have a vaguely threatening tone and seem to be directed at her. While trying to discover the source of these letters, Miriam falls for cab driver Janko (Tom Mercier).

Darkest Miriam veers back and forth between the mystery and romance elements, intentionally not giving either of them a satisfying resolution. The movie is more about the oddball moments that define her life, from cleaning up the mess made by a dude who masturbated in the library to the peculiarities of dating a younger man. You don’t necessarily know what to feel while watching the film, which is sort of the point. It’s odd and risk-taking, if not conventionally entertaining.

Darkest Miriam

© 2024 Mike McGranaghan