The series was new, released online on September 17, and within two weeks was already surrounded by as much hysteria as the Battle of the Thrones, The Theft of Big Money, or The Maiden of the Maiden, if not bigger. It is not possible to open a foreign page that deals with the industry and TV series without finding an article about this series, which surprised many, as consumers did not expect the big release from South Korea.
The surviving drama series is the work of Hwang Dong-hyuk, is also a writer and director, with Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, O Yeong-su, Wi Ha-joon, Jung Ho-yeon, Heo Sung-tae, Anupam Tripathi, Kim Joo-ryoung. Don’t blush if you’ve never heard of it. Interestingly, no one needed the story for a decade; Hwang reportedly wrote it in 2008, but then it didn’t take long for a decade.
What is it about?
Seong Gi-hun is an unfortunate loser, a good-hearted but skating figure. You have serious debts and you have the chance to take part in a mysterious game in which you can win a huge fortune that can completely change your life. He is put in a car, stunned there, recovering in a completely unknown place.
Masked, dressed in robes, marcona, armed guards take care of all their movements, the players (who are terribly indebted, unfortunate fatherless), receive the same heater, housed in a huge room. A childhood friend is also on the field, with a total of 456 competitors fighting for the grand prize. Cho Sang-woo will soon be an ally, but he has no idea what awaits them: the losers of the giant prize will not be sent home, but just shoot him in the head close up. With this, terror and terror will overwhelm them, as it is quite clear that the password is “victory or death,” in the strictest sense of the word.
It’s bad to look at it, but it works
One of the hardest parts of the series, though, is not when the abandonments are shot, but when the pilots have a chance to leave the tracks terribly depressing, hang them where they sleep, and return to their old life without money. All the survivors return to their old, habitual and rather miserable situation, at the bottom of society, and then a significant part of them choose, of their own free will, to return to the bloody game, knowing that they have a minimal chance of catching the grand prize, almost certain death.
Character development can be interesting to the viewer’s eyes, because the creators looked for a shocking sequence of events that affected the characters. The open-hearted Seong Gi-hun, who at first couldn’t hurt a fly, lies to the old man, who seems to be completely senile, just for his own survival. Cho Sang-woo is not a killer, at least at first, but he pulls himself completely away from himself, shooting anyone off the bridge without blinking an eye if his own interest so desires. Kang Sae-byeok is very unfriendly and distant at first, but with a long work he managed to talk about it, revealing some things about his past. Only the main evil does not change, Jang Deok-su is the same last bastard as in the beginning.
What makes it work?
It’s a completely understandable survival drama – only one from a certain group can stay in the end. There aren’t many temporary jumps and the faces of South Korea are also relatively easy to distinguish. The viewer is not lost between completely disinterested side threads, does not bother to collapse temporal planes and dimensions, and soon begins to squeeze or simply hate the faces of characters who soon learn. Here it is annoying that Seong Gi-hun is infinitely naive, vulgar, and too kind (even though he fights for his life), and his main opponent is visibly evil, whining, looks ugly, and even has a tattoo on his neck. . There is a clear distinction between the very good and the very bad, you don’t have to think about it much and, for mass success, you just need it: simple stories and uncomplicated characters, because a lot of people don’t like to think long in front of the screen about a character’s motivation.
It gives a strange side aspect to the series that, although the characters are adults, they play Korean children’s games: it’s like having to catch, hide, or jump home to survive. After a mistake, the headache arrives, there is no time to explain it. So the series is downright brutal, with a lot of emotionless performances, and the world presented is very depressing, although it can sniff the viewer. It doesn’t feel good to see it, but it still starts the second, third and fourth part. And when it starts to seem long, look at it: who will come out in the sixth episode if there are nine in total?
They like to parallel this series with The Parasites, also presented in 2019, also a South Korean play that was a strange hybrid and comedy thriller. It is similar in that we are already looking for a parallel, as it can be drawn that both are anti-capitalist. In the Parasites, a poor family settles into a well-to-do family (but at least not everyone is clearly good or bad), and here the people who have fallen to the bottom of society, in debt, are in debt (with their lives) to play a contest created to entertain the super-rich. In fact, the squid game would have worked like a two-hour movie, sometimes one feels long in the nine episodes.
Will there be a sequel?
In any case, the series ranks at 8.2 points on IMDb, after 150,000 votes, and 91% on the Rotten Tomatoes band, which is particularly good. According to NBC News, there are at least 400,000 heavily indebted people in South Korea, so the success of the series is there (nationally), as many of the characters are known for themselves, a friend, a family member . According to a local critic, the fact that they went out to local children’s games caused many South Korean spectators a sense of pleasant, temporary nostalgia, which led them for a short time to a peaceful childhood when they didn’t have much trouble, but history shows clearly you can’t escape the problems, the reality.
All parties were directed by Hwang, and when asked if he was ready to continue (two weeks after the premiere!) He gave an evasive answer, thinking it would require a regular desk (where experienced professionals think together, brainstorm and then distribute the writing) and I thought it would also be nice to have experienced boards. Because we have no doubt that if there is a great overwhelming success, it will also be a sequel, we have seen in the case of major movie franchises like Godfather, Rocky, The Matrix and the like.
If it will be a second season, almost certainly, many new characters will have to be introduced, since almost all the important figures of the first season died. This is not to say that the silent beauty, Kang Sae-byeok, will not return to the sequel in any way, but given that she is dead, they will only be able to present earlier details of her life, and this must be some way linked to the new story, but not to stay spectacular. It does, for example, The Big Money Robbery, a figure from Berlin, or Nairobi, which also appeared in later parts. If the second season arrives, however, we will have to wait a long time, it will hardly appear on the screen before the end of 2022.