‘Charging Card’ Ending Explained & Movie Recap: What Happens In Netflix’s Egyptian Film?

The world has changed a lot in the last two decades, and the emergence of new technology is of the utmost significance. Cinematographer turned director Shady Ali’s Charging Card is a sort of dystopian satire. Most of us now pay for multiple subscription fees for different platforms, and it’s only getting worse. From food to entertainment and transport, it’s essential for us to pay a hefty amount of money to subscribe to things we didn’t need to not too long ago. In this movie, the director takes us to a futuristic Cairo, where a common man starts to lose his mind over the gazillions of apps that have become necessary for survival.


Spoilers Ahead

What happens in the movie?

Shereif is a tight-fisted middle-class man whose life starts to become difficult when he figures that he needs to pay for a subscription to catch a football match. This is only the tip of the iceberg, as it’s something that we experience as well. Shereif’s life actually changes when he sees a taxi driver as the manager of a shopping mall. He had previously fought with the man over fare, and now the manager refuses to accept that they’ve met before. He offers Shereif and his family to enter in a contest to win a smart fridge, and when Shereif refuses to take the coupon, he slips it to his daughter. They win the lucky draw and get to take the fridge home. It’s important how much the manager emphasizes the fact that the fridge costs 55 thousand Egyptian pounds. The fridge comes with a few weird instructions, and it is to be opened at midnight. When the smart fridge eventually starts working, it orders a bunch of fruits, meat, milk, and all sorts of other things Shereif has to pay for. This was only the start of his troubles; as the movie progresses, his misery only gets worse and worse. 


Can Shereif return the fridge?

Shereif takes the delivery guy to the police station and tries to register a complaint against the fridge. The cop obviously kicks him out, and the delivery guy explains how the fridge orders things by itself, and what’s a few thousand pounds compared to the fridge he got for free. 5 days later, the delivery guy returns with another unwanted order, as the fridge doesn’t keep meat and milk longer than the FDA instructions allow. Shereif goes to the consumer protection agency, where he sees the same manager and driver posing as the officer. For convenience’s sake, I’m calling this mysterious person Everyman, as he seems to be pretty smooth when switching characters. Everyman clearly explains that Shereif would have to pay a penalty of six thousand pounds if he wanted to return the fridge, and he comes back with the items that he didn’t order but that the fridge wants. Being an honest and straightforward man is a loser’s trait in this world, and even Shereif’s mother thinks he’s one. 

What happens at Shereif’s sister’s wedding?

Shereif’s sister Israa and his brother-in-law Wael visit his house, fighting with each other over Israa wanting Vanilla Ice to perform at their wedding. That doesn’t happen as expected, but the two men bond over getting belly dancers for the wedding, and Shereif gets his mom’s approval too. However, at the wedding, they were in for a bigger letdown, and Shereif sees Everyman again, but this time he’s come with a dancer. The dancer is not ordinary; it’s a robot who can belly dance. The app Wael booked her from is called iTwerk, and the robot is made in Russia. After a long back and forth between Shereif, Wael, and Wael’s father, they decide on letting the bot dancer stay, and Everyman asks them questions to customize the robot according to their preferences. He then turns into a MC, and all of them actually have a great time, but zero credit goes to Everyman or his twerk robot, which is absolutely horrendous, by the way. 


How do the different subscriptions drive Shereif mad?

Shereif loses the water connection at his home, and when he goes into a public toilet to do his business, Everyman stops him and tells him to download the app Pee-Pee and subscribe to it. He then sees Everyman again, this time as a beggar asking for money with an expensive watch and phone in hand. Shereif refuses to give anything, but soon finds the beggar on Facebook and sees all his posts report catastrophic deaths of the people who didn’t help him. Shereif runs back to Everyman only to receive a new membership in iBeg. This keeps happening to him, and he gets to know about iEarn for getting his own salary, iRide for bus rides, and when he tries to escape to a village, there’s an app called iMilk to get milk from it. Shereif’s life has gotten beyond absurdity, as everywhere he sees, he finds Everyman. He even finds Everyman at a funeral, where he’s come as an agent to find them a holographic Quran reciter.  Shereif loses it, gets himself into a fight, and gets beaten up. When he has a dream, he sees Everyman asking for a subscription, and he tells his wife that even the dreams aren’t free anymore, and they’ve restricted his dreams. 

Does Shereif overcome his misery?

The next day, Shereif finds himself overwhelmed by all the cards he has, which he needs to keep recharging. He sees the world around him as obsessed with cards, tik-tok, and all sorts of digital mess. Shereif gets a vision where he finds himself in a heaven-like place, and Everyman appears in front of him, playing God. Everyman tells Shereif that he was the person who gave him his first Playboy magazine, an Atari game, and his first cellphone. Shereif played the famous snake game a lot, and Everyman tells him that he was the snake in the game as well. He also knows that Shereif and his wife haven’t been intimate for a year, and that’s embarrassing. Shereif asks him who he really is, and Everyman says he’s his distant future and virtual reality. He says the rest of the world already dances to his tunes, and Shereif has no option but to join them. After this, Shereif has pretty much given up, but he sees that Everyman no longer appears in every single man who offers service. He goes to Refaat, his friend who wanted him to be corrupt for the longest time, and talks to his boss, telling him that Shereif is finally ready. Refaat hands out a few certificates to Shereif, and for each, he gets 50 thousand pounds. This amount of money changes his life, and we see he finally gets the ‘rotorcyle’ his daughter kept asking for. He got a wig for himself, and he looks happy after a long time. He gets a call from his wife, and she tells him to come home. She wants to be intimate, but here lies the ultimate twist. When he tries to open his bedroom door, the adjacent screen plays a video of his wife asking him to subscribe to the marital card from the Oppressed Women’s Foundation. Like everything else, his wife turns out to be of limited access too. 


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Aniket Mukherjee
Aniket Mukherjee
Aniket is a literature student pursuing his master's degree while trying to comprehend Joyce and Pound. When his head is not shoved in books, he finds solace in cinema and his heart beats for poetry, football, and Adam Sandler in times.

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