One of the most successful and buzz-worthy K-Dramas on Netflix has completed its run and we can’t keep calm.
Written and directed by Hwang Dong Hyuk (Miss Granny, Silenced), ‘Squid Game’ is a deadly and mysterious nine-episode survival series that was released on Netflix on September 17, 2021. The series ended up ranking No. 1 in various countries and topping the US charts, becoming the first-ever Korean show to achieve the feat.
So, what makes ‘Squid Game’ so popular? Without further ado, let’s get right into the review.
*Warning: Spoilers ahead
‘Squid Game’ is a survival show, where players are taken to an unknown place and pitted against each other. In this survival of the fittest, a total of six games are played among the 456 participants to win a grand total of 45.6 billion Korean won ($38.7 million). While the games seem simple as they are the ones played by children, the participants soon realize that their life is at stake and that there is no way out.
All the players are lured into playing the game because they are financially struggling and are in desperate need of money. They are introduced to the prospects of the game through a ‘Ddakji battle’ and invited for a chance to change their life forever.
While signing a contract for the game, the players have to follow the three conditions-
#1 Must Keep Playing
#2 Refuse and Be Eliminated
#3 Games End if the Majority Agree
However, the elimination is not a simple one. The losers pay with their own life at the exact second they lose.
The Six Games
One of the major highlights of the drama is the six games that the players have to participate in. While the games are simple, they are re-created in such a horrifying way that it leaves the viewers traumatised and wanting to never play it again.
#1 Red Light, Green Light
In the first game, the players have to play the simple game of ‘Red Light Green Light’. The field has a gigantic doll standing at the finish line who turns to check if anyone is moving or not. The players have to make it across the field while the doll is looking away. If caught, the player is shot without any questions.
#2 Sugar Honey Combs
In the next game, the players are asked to choose a specific shape and given a dalgona candy with the same imprinted on it. If they fail to cut the shape perfectly, then they are eliminated.
#3 Tug of War
We all have played this game of strength and agility when we were young. However, in this situation, the game is played on a high platform and the losing team is thrown down to death.
The remaining players are divided into teams of two and pitted against each other to collect the marbles from their opponent using any methods that they can think of.
#5 Glass Stepping Stones
The players are supposed to step only on tempered glass. If you step on a regular one, you go straight down.
#6 Squid Game
The game with complicated rules, where the attacker tries to go past the defendant without being captured by the defender.
The Main Cast
One of the major factors that led to the success of ‘Squid Game’ is its stellar cast. From well-established actors to rookie actors who stole the show, everyone outperformed themselves and delivered exceptionally well!
Lee Jung Jae as Seong Gi Hun
A divorced gambler working as a chauffeur, but stealing money from his mother and drowning in debts.
Being a veteran Korean actor, Lee Jung Jae played his role with ease. He was able to deliver the emotions of a desperate son and father who is unable to help any of his closest family members. In the drama, he seemed to be lucky and quick-witted.
Park Hae Soo as Cho Sang Woo
A smart investment banker who is being hunted for embezzling money from his clients and losing it all in the stock market. He is on the run and meets his childhood friend Gi Hun in the game.
Park Hae Soo left no stone unturned to make his character a ruthless and intelligent deceiver who will go to any extent to win that prize money.
Jung Ho Yeon as Kang Sae Byeok
A North Korean defector, adamant to smuggle her mother from North Korea and to live a better life with her family.
A goal-oriented, unwittingly smart, and shrewd woman, Jung Ho Yeon’s portrayal of Sae Byeok was mind-blowing. She has already garnered a lot of deserving praises for her acting debut and it’s worthy of every appreciation.
Wi Ha Joon as Hwang Jun Ho
A police officer who enters the game while looking for his missing brother. Hiding as the marked man, Jun Ho is out to solve the mystery behind the games and the disappearance of his brother.
A rising name in the industry, Wi Ha Joon was impressive with his performance as the brave Jun Ho. Whether he managed to solve the mystery or not, that’s for you to watch.
Oh Young Soo as Oh Il Nam
Diagnosed with a brain tumour, the oldest contestant seems to be a weak link but he helps his group win games with his wit.
Oh Young Soo brought so much life into his character and his helpless side also managed to evoke a lot of sympathies. However, what you think you know about Il Nam is not everything.
Anupam Tripathi as Abdul Ali
A migrant from Pakistan who is duped by his own employer and struggles to fulfil the needs of his family in Korea enters the game in the hope to live a happy life.
The portrayal of Abdul Ali by Anupam Tripathi made him stand out as the most humane character on the show. Ali truly deserved a happy ending but he was betrayed by the one he trusted the most.
Heo Sung Tae as Jang Deok Su
Kim Joo Ryung as Han Mi Nyeo
Gong Yoo as The Salesman
Lee Byung Hun as The Front Man
Why Should You Watch ‘Squid Game’?
The show is a dark take on the lengths that a human being can go for money. The rule of the game is simple, “you lose, you die.” Participants in the lure of earning money savagely kill their competitors and use them as tools to win. The series is a mixed bag of emotions, betrayal, suspicion, and trust.
The most ironic part is that the adults play children’s games throughout the show, however, it’s not for fun but for survival at the cost of another person’s life.
Owing to its popularity, co-CEO of Netflix, Ted Sarandos has said that ‘Squid Game’ has a “very good chance” of becoming the most popular show on Netflix.
So who is the ultimate survivor of the game? To find out, watch ‘Squid Game’ only on Netflix.
It’s definitely worth a watch. The show has done an absolutely brilliant job of capturing human greed and its consequences.
Another praise-worthy aspect of the show is how the characters have their own varying degrees of all human emotions. From being kind-hearted to cold-blooded, intelligent to dumb, smart to naive, the emotions are quick to change according to the situations.
While the very purpose of the game is to erase the ‘class divide’ and give a fair chance to the players, irrespective of their status in society, it is highly ironic that the game is created by wealthy people for pure entertainment. This just portrays the amount of respect a human being has for another when we are drowning in the need or power of money.
It’s very well written, depicted, and directed.
Written by Rachita