Looking for something to watch this weekend? Why not check out 2014 noir film Man On High Heels, our Film Friday recommend.
I am admittedly a fan of Cha Seung Won, though my memory defeats me, I believe Blood Rain was the first film I saw him in. I was pleased to hear of his return to film with High Heel, or Man on High Heels as it is know internationally, in summer last year.
Hearing the premise for the movie I was admittedly curious. Cha plays homicide detective Yoon Ji Wook. Yoon is an unquestioned legend amongst police, and ultimately feared and respected by the Mafia. Yoon’s take on cracking down on crime is brutal, though he has no use for bullets. Yoon is seemingly the epitome of masculinity, and given Cha’s ‘macho’ image such a role is not something he is unfamiliar with.
Though Yoon has a deep, hidden secret. Yoon identifies as Transgender. Man on High Heels is an intricate film noir tale, and woven into the crime storyline mask is the story of Yoon’s decision to live his true life.
I don’t think it is too much of a surprise Man on High Heels performed poorly in domestic cinemas, being outshone by Hollywood blockbusters such as X-Men: Days of Future Past. Though, given the chance internationally, Man on High Heels could be an important piece of cinema.
In much the same vein as British cinema triumph The Imitation Game, the story of a man’s struggle with a part of them considered wrong and their ultimate resignation to living a lie despite the acceptance of those close to them, is strong and emotional.
Jang Jin is an unknown writer and director outside of Asia, and that itself is disappointing. His offerings are unconventional and challenging. He is fond of the acting of Cha, having teamed up with him for a third time for High Heel, and in this film in particular Cha helps Jang both subvert and support stereotypes for drama and comedy.
Man on High Heels challenges your perception; lays discrimination, love and acceptance bare; and tears at your heart.
This is one of Cha’s finest performances, one you cannot help but become emotionally involved in. Everyone should take the chance to watch Man on High Heels, and a quick Google search will find you a subtitled version of the film.
Have you seen High Heel? Share your thoughts on the film with us