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"Squid Game" Review

Thelma Alberts is a Filipino ex-pat living in Germany. She has a new found hobby. She is fond of watching Korean drama since March 2021.

My screenshot from „Squid Game“ drama on Netflix.

My screenshot from „Squid Game“ drama on Netflix.

Introduction

"Squid Game" is a South Korean drama about survival games on Netflix. It was first shown on September 17, 2021. It was the "talk of the countries" not only in Germany but worldwide. It has 9 episodes. The squid game is the last being played out of 6 games. I have never thought that I would watch this Korean drama on Netflix but it was worth it. It was not just a normal game show but it was full of suspense, horror, bloody scenarios and of course drama which everyone has to fight for their lives for the sake of getting the winning money which is 45.6 billion won, around 38 million US dollars. All contestants are desperate to win the contest.


"Squid Game" Trailer

Summary

Seong Gi-hun has a gambling addiction and is very desperate to earn money as he has a lot of debts to pay. He is financially ruined but has to earn money because he wants to have custody of his teenage daughter. One day, he was recruited to play games with other participants. He received a calling card that invited him to call if he is interested to join the game. When he called the number, he was told to go to a certain area to be collected by a car. When he was inside the vehicle, he was drugged and together with 455 gamers were transported to an unknown place, guarded by masked armed personnel in pink jumpsuits. The gamers have to wear green tracksuits.

In the first game, all the losers were immediately killed. Seong Gi-hun and some other participants survived. Having seen the dead participants, they voted and the game was stopped. The living gamers went home but most of them returned as they realized that it was the last chance for them to win a huge amount of money. Come what may, life or death.

The Main Characters of the "Squid Game"

  1. Seong Gi-hun, played by Lee Jung-jae, is a divorced man who is living with his mother. He has a teenage daughter who will soon move to the US with her mother and stepfather. Seong Gi-hun is a chauffeur with a gambling addiction, which drives him to his financial ruin. Due to his financial struggle, he joins the game contest to be able to pay his debts. Through winning the game, he will be able to afford the custody of his daughter. He is the last contestant of the game, number 456.
  2. Cho Sang-woo played by Park Hae-soo, was a childhood playmate and a junior classmate of Seong Gi-hun. He studied at Seoul National University in South Korea. He was working as the head team of an investment company but is now on the run from the police. He is now wanted for stealing money from his clients and has a lot of debts caused by his bad investments. He joins the game as number 218.
  3. Kang Sae-byeok played by Jung Ho-yeon, is a refugee from North Korea. She joins the game contest to pay for the broker who can help her parents to escape across the border of North Korea and to get her kid brother, who is in the orphanage in South Korea. Her plan is to buy a house for her to live with her parents and brother when she wins the game. She is number 067.
  4. Oh Il-nam played by O Yeong-su, is an old man who has a brain tumor. He joins the game contest to bring an action to his boring life while waiting for his death to come. He is number 001.
  5. Jang Deok-su played by Heo Sung-tae, is a very brutal gangster who joins the game to be able to pay his debts to his boss and other people from whom he owes money.
  6. Abdul Ali played by Anupam Tripathi is a foreign worker from Pakistan. He joins the game after he has beaten his boss for not paying his salary for months. He wants to win the game so he can support his young family in South Korea.
  7. Hwang Jun-ho played by Wi Ha-joon is a policeman who is looking for his missing brother. He sneaks into the game and hides as one of the masked guards.
  8. Han Mi-nyeo played by Kim Joo-ryoung is a very manipulative, boastful and loud woman. It is not known why she joins the game.
  9. A businessman played by Gong Yoo recruits the participants of the game.


Production Information

"Squid Game" was created, written and directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk. It was first released on September 17, 2021, on Netflix. It is in the original Korean language with English translation, well, depending on the country or language you are watching.

Genre: Thriller, drama, horror and survival South Korean drama series.

9 Episodes with episodes from 32- 62 minutes

Music: Jung Jae-il

Source: Wikipedia

My screenshot of the huge doll in „Squid Game“ on Netflix.

My screenshot of the huge doll in „Squid Game“ on Netflix.

The Games Played

  1. Red light, Green Light
  2. Dalgona or ppopgi, Sugar Honeycomb
  3. Marbles
  4. Tug of War
  5. Glas Bridge
  6. Squid Game

A huge doll announces how the games are played.

1. Red Light, Green Light—-The players are allowed to move forward when Green Light is announced and have to stop when it is Red Light. The one who moves on Red Light is eliminated.

2. Dalgona or honeycomb candy- Every player chooses a tin with imprinted honeycomb candy, either in a triangle, round, star or umbrella shape. Each player has to remove the shape from the tin without damaging it within the limited time given.

3. Marbles—-Each player receives 10 marbles and has to choose a partner for this game. The one who has no more marbles in his hands loses the game. There are no rules in this game. The partners can decide how to play the marbles.

4. Tug of War—-is a game of strength with 2 teams, playing against each other. Each team, with their selected members, is in line pulling the large braided rope to their side against the force of the other team. The purpose of this game is to bring the opposite team across the drawn line while tugging them on their side. In this game, the drawn line is a gap going down the deep ground between the 2 platforms where the teams are tugging the rope.

5. Glas Bridge——The players have to cross the 2-panel glass bridge which is more than a hundred feet high from the ground. The players have to jump from one glass panel to the other to cross the bridge which is made of either tempered or regular glass. The regular glass can’t stand the weight of the player, thus it breaks and fell into the deep ground with the player in it.


6. Squid Game—-This game is played on sandy ground. One is the offense while the other one is the defender. The offense or the attacker enters the squid shape court by hopping with his one foot until he crosses the neck of the squid. The defender must block the offender and force him/her to go outside the squid area. When the offender cuts the waist of the squid passed through the defender, the players are allowed to use their both feet. Using both feet is called "inspector royale". The one who is left standing inside the court is the winner. „Victory“ is exclaimed when winning this game.

All these, were harmless children’s past time enjoyment until they were tweaked to deadly games played on „Squid Game“.


My Opinion

I am not really fond of survival and horror drama but I was curious why "Squid Game“ was and still is so popular on Netflix, worldwide. After watching the cast interview by Jimmy Fallon on Facebook, I started watching this South Korean drama without knowing much, with no expectations at all besides that the games played are all children’s games. I have never thought that all these harmless games were tweaked into a very suspenseful, horror, bloody and very emotional drama. The music played was awesome and it brought more thrill to the show. Every now and then, I have to stop to understand what was going on and to understand how the games were played. I cried, shouted and had to gasp a breath while watching. Very unusual on my part. Nevertheless, I was hooked and binge-watched it until I finished it in 2 days. With all the emotions I had while watching, it was worth it.

I tried my best to avoid writing a Spoiler so you can still enjoy watching.

Tip: Don’t let your small children watch this show. It is emotionally and psychologically too much for them to watch.


The Casts and other Works of the Director

All the cast were playing great. They are good actors and actresses. What impressed me much was the acting of Jung Ho-yeon. She is not only a beautiful model but has nailed her first acting career as Kang Sae-byeok in "Squid Game“. I am sure she will be having more acting careers in the near future.


Other Works of the Director:

„My Father“

„Silenced“ or „The Crucible“

„The Fortress“



Sources: Wikipedia, Netflix and You tube

© 2021 Thelma Alberts

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