Highway Star (2007)

Korean title: 복면 달호 (Bok-myeon Dal-ho)

What’s popping:

Lots! I absolutely loved this flick. (Now you know the sudden interest in trot music, huh?)

Cha Tae-hyun (차태현) plays funny and sensitive with panache and the plot is effective (some subtly) on so many levels!

There’s the surface story where everyone gets and for those who like to analyse their flicks, you’ll find meaty revelations as well.

Such as:

  • The mask the protagonist wears being a symbol of the “mask” he puts on due to fame and fortune. While the man in the mask is popular and much loved, the individual behind it is hurting and unsure of himself.
  • The fact that the film posits that music is the rhythm of the heart & soul – whether it’s rock, pop or trot – all music is usually birthed from a pure source.
  • Using contrasting music genres to put the point above across – tacky trot vs. angst-ridden rock!!! Seeing the two genres meld together somewhere along the flick – beautiful!
  • The journey the protagonist, Bong Dal-ho (Cha Tae-hyun), takes in learning to appreciate a genre he initially hates.
  • The side plots that are hilarious, including the romance.

Little wonder that the rights to the flick have been snapped up by Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and Brunei.

Also stars: Im Chae-moo (임채무), Lee So-yeon (이소연) and Jeong Seok-yong (정석용).

The plot:

Country boy Bong Dal-ho dreams of becoming a rock star, along with his bandmates of City Rock. However, to make ends meet, they are stuck playing trot music in local clubs – much to their distaste.

One day, a talent scout from Seoul gives Dal-ho (minus his band!) an opportunity to record an album; all without informing him that the small-time label specialises in trot music.

Dal-ho accepts and debuts with a mask because he is ashamed of the music he’s duped into performing but as it turns out, the mask becomes his ticket to national stardom! Oooh, what now?

Watch it:

Get the DVD already!!! This one’s for keeps!