Give and Take
The Hate U Give’s most pressing scene happens in a private school soon after a young black man is shot and killed by a white cop. Students surround Starr (Amandla Senberg), the only black student, as they excitedly leave the school in protest. They shout how the event will get them out of tests and allows them to skip math, while outside they hold up #BlackLivesMatter signs. It’s incredible they even know the name of the dead kid.
That’s Hate U Give at its sharpest, a film with a personal, relevant split. Starr lives in an impoverished ghetto; she attends a privileged school. Those circumstances force her to live two lives. In one, she’s all smiles, giddy to be who she is. In the other, she considers everything she says, and shrugs off buried racist remarks. Senberg’s performance is superlative, as if playing two separate characters.
The discomfort and fear evident in this story feels absolutely authentic, if even guarded. Hate U Give confronts if never attacks its multitude of issues. Its fault lies in dialog, which often speaks to the audience as to lay out the issues with artificial clarity. Opening with a scene where a black father teaches his kids how to behave during a traffic stop or risk death, Hate U Give begins powerfully. Soon though, it’s breaking down social issues into a “both sides” debate, brought to a head as Starr discusses the shooting with her uncle (Common). That’s played like a political debate, not two family members engaged in their circumstances.
Hate U Give is too soft, lacking the bite of Spike Lee
Hate U Give is too soft, lacking the bite of Spike Lee
In a year with a stellar output from black voices, with BlacKkKlansman followed by the satirical genius of Sorry to Bother You, Hate U Give whiffs the chance at being real. While sufficient in establishing the pressures on Starr as people beg for her appearance in front of a grand jury – and opposing gang leaders see her as a snitch – it’s all too clean.
By the end, everyone joins together in front a white picket fence, planting trees, and playing with a hose. Everybody smiles. It’s as if Hate U Give cured racism, bigotry, and inequality. It’s too soft, lacking the bite of Spike Lee. Inspiring, hopefully, as Hate U Give calls for togetherness and community as a solution to police violence. And Senberg is a breakout performer, able to hold this material together even as its more Hollywood approach confines the material.
Video (4K UHD)
Shot digitally, Fox’s 4K presentation is beautifully rendered and totally transparent to the source. Compression and noise? Not here, at all.
Using HDR10+, this pass gives contrast generous heft. Brightness stays high, with an elegance to black levels and shadows. Depth produces consistent dimension, even in low light. Scenes shot in a car, at night, keep light up and shadow detail intact. In terms of balance, Hate U Give stands with the elite.
Sensational levels of detail texture each frame. Again, low light or not doesn’t matter to this disc. Facial definition sticks out, resolved with pristine sharpness. Atlanta is showcased in a number of neighborhood views and aerials of the larger city; those give the sense of true 4K media, even if Hate U Give comes from a 2K finish.
Using two color palettes, each uses a certain exaggeration. At school, Starr is surrounded by extensive blue, a way of exaggerating her mood. At home, warmth descends. Both look excessive, but only the blues have any genuine impact on things like flesh tones. Either way, color density stays strong.
Hate U Give’s color palette struggles on Blu-ray. The lack of nuance forces the issue, with a garish amber glaze or unnatural chill. While clean and free of noise, this presentation lacks accuracy.
Still, detail creates some dazzling close-ups. Consistency in detail deserves praise. Great aerial views of the city pose no apparent challenge. Strong, dense contrast keeps dimension high.
Both formats utilize the same DTS-HD 7.1 mix, notable during the climax as protesters and police clash. Shouting rises, specific voices pushed into the rears to create space. As things escalate, gas canisters begin popping, sent into the low-end with great blasts. Gas sprays out into each positional. It’s a convincing soundstage.
The rest is plain, as dictated by the dialog-driven drama. School halls create needed ambiance, as does Starr’s street, with people and cars passing through. Dynamics keep dialog sharp and centered.
Opening things is a commentary featuring director George Tillman, writer Angie Thomas, editor Craig Hayes, along with stars Russell Hornsby and Amandla Steinberg. Three extended scenes running 15-minutes come next, followed by the first featurette Starting a Conversation, detailing what the filmmakers hope to achieve through their work. This runs 10-minutes. The Talk features Russell Hornsby discussing the impact a specific scene had on him, running eight minutes.
Author Angie Thomas speaks on her experience in crafting this story in both Code Switching and Shine Your Light, the pair running 20-minutes. Two promos for shooting in Atlanta follow, with a gallery trailing right after.
The Hate U Give
The Hate U Give exposes a number of social inequalities and pressures, even if the story wraps too cleanly and dialog debates itself.
User Review( votes)
The following six screen shots serve as samples for our Patreon-exclusive set of 44 full 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: