What Happened to Mr Cha? premiered on 1st January 2021 on Netflix. The film is directed by debutant director Kim Dong-kyu, starring Cha In-Pyo, Jo Dal-Hwan, and Jo-Han-Joon alongside other cast members.
Mr Cha Lost His Charm?
The story is simple here – a fading celebrity gets trapped in the ruins of an old girls school building which was set to be demolished a day after. But due to some events he secretly decides to shower in the empty school and it collapses. In his time between the ruins, he introspects and retrospects about his life and place in the world, realizing that the world has changed and he may not be as important as he thinks he is.
But that does not mean he doesn’t want out of the debris but if it means losing his face he would rather stay under the ruins than coming out naked. Quite the conflict, right? Will he come out? What will happen as he tries to resurrect his career by doing anything available and more? What turn will life take after? These are a few questions we seek answers for, while Cha’s manager A-ram finds ways to get his boss out of the mess and save his image.
What Happened to Mr Cha? is good in its first half but as the film progresses, somewhere it gets lost in itself and the entirety of its message is muddled. The concept is well-drawn here are Cha makes his way not just out of the pile of rocks but also while fighting his fear, narcissism, arrogance, and self-image. In terms of his performance as himself, he comes out with flying colours but it still does not get the message through with the clarity it aims for.
The longer Cha lies in the wreckage, the more he enters delirium, and the more metaphysical his truth becomes. Cha sees himself floating against a field of stars in the wide and empty universe, still enclosed in mortar. He sees himself in various forms, all the while trying to seek answers for the dilemma. The film, despite its few shortcomings, is interesting even though it slacks in the mid part. There are no sound effects or heavy songs here but the sound is filled with Cha’s thoughts and dilemma. The film brings a fair image of what it is to be a celebrity and what it is to lose it over the years.
Stream It or Skip It
STREAM IT! What Happened to Mr Cha? is not a waste of time. The performances are good and the screenplay is well-knitted. Despite its few shortcomings, the film is realistic and honest in its approach.
What Happened to Mr Cha? is now streaming on Netflix.
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