Hi, Yes, i'm French and saw La haine when it was out at the cinema. I loved it but everybody didn't thought the same (kind of the same feeling as for marmite for UK people). It's not easy to watch, there is a lot of French-city-talking that can't be properly translated and yes, as you've understood from other reviews, it's in B&W. If you feel responsible enough to buy it thengood for you. if, you manage to watch it until the end I'm sure you will not say the usual "well, it was OK but stalone would have been good in the middle"... No, it's really a very very good film. It will explain you exactly what's going on in french suburbs of Paris. Don't be afraid to go to France though as you will luckily not see that. it's iden from tourists.
On the film direction : nothing to say about the actors. they are just fantastic and no-one would have been better than them. M kassovitz is so good as a film director (as well as actor, see Amelie). He's got a real knowledge of the photography as well. The end is completely unexpected but better than what you saw in the sixth sense.... have a good film.
Oh! I forgot, o buy it, it's certainly worth having it in your collection of DVDs.