Mini TV Review – Squid Game

Recently I have been watching Squid Game; and it was AWESOME! Created by Hwang Dong-hyuk for Netflix, and starring Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, and Jung Hoyeon; Squid Game is a South Korean Survival Drama, which is sort of like a cross between The Hunger Games, and Takeshi’s Castle. Several people around the country are in crippling financial debt and are on the brink of ruin, so they are offered a life line, and are taken to a far away island to compete in a series of children’s playground games, in the hope of winning a huge cash prize. It’s a really weird idea, but it just sort of…works. It carries that essence you find in South Korean productions, one you don’t hear, see, smell, or taste, but an essence which you still find in the works of Bong Joon Ho. The show is something of a psychedelic trip in visuals and sounds. The set’s for instance are very bright and colorful, with the stairway area being rather reminiscent of the famous Escher‘s stairway, but again packed with bright and happy childlike colours. The uniform’s of the soldiers are bright pink, and the players green, and in many scenes we hear that ghostly, spooky sound of the soldiers moving around the corridors. And that’s just what we see and hear in the background. The games are based on children’s playground games, and it instantly becomes gripping as this form of surprise and anticipation means you don’t know what to expect, and you cannot turn away until you know what the next game is. And while this is all going on, we have this very deep, and surprising drama unfolding, every second. We see characters at their lowest, join in, and find out what is really going on. But then the story flips over, and sort of stops; to portray how sad their lives are outside, and suggest that this is their only option, and thus we see them become more submissive, and compliant. We see alliances formed, and broken at the drop of a hat, we see people be good and kind, but then flip it all around. It’s a story which plays with the emotions of the characters, and the audience; sometimes making the viewer as deeply sad and bad at the same time, leaving a horrible taste. And this all just one show. It reminds me of something I heard Patrick Ness say, in how writing a book is a ‘privilege’, and that when writing a book, you should ‘really go for it’. That’s this show, they packed it up tight, with as much stuff they could get in; to make it work, and be the best it could be. It is a fantastic show, it is just so good in everything it does, and sets out to achieve; and is not ashamed to be as weird as possible, in it’s decisions, or direction. It’s practically perfect!

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