One of the joys of seeing films at the Vancouver International Film Festival is the chance to see foreign works. Different countries have different eaesthetics and some translate brilliantly and others remain a curiosity.
Man On High Heels is a genre bending film about a super lethal police detective who wants to be a woman. Yoon played by Cha Seungwon looks and moves equally as well when he is kicking the shit out of gangsters and when he is walking in heels.
The film directed by Jang Jin, contains graphic violence (one person gets his head bashed in with car door repeatedly), and scenes of grand melodrama with sweeping music. At first it feels like it is subverting the violent revenge genre but as it continues it’s starts to feel like the trans issues are a being treated as exotica and not as an in-depth examination.
When the film travels to its concluding moments, the choices made by Yoon will likely be very unsatisfying for an LGBT audience. After seeing so many people stabbed with knives, chopsticks and forks, the journey for them won’t seem worth it.
Man on High Heels (South Korea, 2014) written and directed by Jang Jin. Screened originally as part of the 2014 Vancouver International Film Festival.