Non-English shows on Netflix are becoming a hype generating machine. While there are many noteworthy shows made in foreign languages, Netflix's latest global hit 'Squid Game' probably wins the race.
Within a few days of its release, creator Hwang Dong-hyuk's 'Squid Game' has become the number one show on Netflix in 90 streaming markets worldwide.
Much like Bong Joon Ho's Oscar-winning masterpiece 'Parasite', 'Squid Game' also offers a not-so-subtle commentary on social issues such as inequality.
As it is in real life, the games here are controlled by the privileged group of society, gambling with the fragile lives of our protagonists.
However, this drama includes many other plot twists that justifies all the hype surrounding it.
The title might seem confusing to some people but let's not judge before delving deep. The recently released South Korean hit series indeed had some clichéd turns.
However, those predictable scenes were executed so eloquently that you will never question its quality and superiority in terms of acting, directing, scripting and more.
This suspense fueled survival drama juggled so many angles that it forces you to stay glued to your Netflix screen.
The trend of creating survival drama started a long time ago. Since then, the goriness of these dramas have attracted audiences worldwide.
The 2000 Japanese movie 'Battle Royale' is an apt example. However, like the 'Hunger Games' film series, the 'Squid Games' premise explores diverse perspectives, probably in a less dystopian manner.
This nine-episode series depicts different socio-economic issues, evokes emotions even for the sore losers and has quite bravely drawn attention to a special segment of depressed people.
That is, people who are dangerously drunk on debt. The show starts by showing the protagonist Gi-Hun's (Li Jung-jae) irresponsible and reckless behaviour which has been frustrating for his family and himself.
Gi-Hun's gambling addiction and unreasonable debts shake his life to the core. Surprisingly, a gentleman (Gong Yoo) in a suit observes it in the station and offers him money if only he wins a childish game.
Eventually, it turns out that the gentleman was inviting him to a much bigger game. The game that is going to somersault Gi-Hun's life including other 455 contestants.
Like Gi-Hun, we see many other lead characters who live horrible lives. Moreover, like any contestants of the game, they are trying hard to survive in the game of real-life as well.
There is Sung-Woo (Park Hae Soo), the smart childhood friend of Ji-Hun who escapes the society of the illiterate, but only to become a fraud.
Then we see the North Korean pickpocketer Sae-Byeok (HoYeon Jung) who craves nothing but a good life for her tortured family. And then there is Ali (Anupam Tripathi), a refugee from Pakistan whose big dreams led him to South Korea. Nonetheless, he faces the harsh reality which any immigrant suffers in a foreign country.
The dreary reality of the participants force them to volunteer in the horrendous games organised by a suspicious individual.
Quite interestingly, this show promotes Korean culture through the nostalgia of Korean children's games. The first game ' Red Light, Green Light' reminded us of 'Elonti, Belonti' - a similar game played in Bangladesh.
However, the outcomes of each game definitely beg the question: "Is this a game from hell?"
The dangerous representation of simple kids' games successfully plays with our minds and keeps us on the edge, awaiting the horrors we would next watch.
This addictive drama's each episode contains a cliffhanger which seduces us to get going and watch till the end. The backdrops of the series were amazingly designed as well, which made it visually stunning.
Each and every scene has different types of lightning as well, sometimes cool-toned and sometimes warm. And changes according to the intensity of different scenes.
Sometimes it represents dark comedy, and sometimes an evocative drama enriched with love, revenge and violence.
Coming to the cast; in one word, it is phenomenal. From a flawed person like Gi-Hun to the courageous policeman Joon-ho (Wi Ha-Joon), each and every role was perfectly casted.
The power-packed performance of the actors evoke all types of emotions and will inspire us to believe in Korean actors' supremacy.
Moreover, the brilliantly written script by Hwang Dong-hyuk deserves much appreciation, although it was getting rejected for ten years.
Nonetheless, now it is creating news for both right and wrong reasons. Understandably, it is an amazing show that resembles real life horrors through intriguing twists, but the Koreans are claiming that Netflix dubbing has changed the meanings of dialogues in significant scenes.
Finally, 'Squid Game' might contain a few predictable scenarios. However, the brilliant execution of the storyline helps us to look over its flaws and binge watch it anyway.
From the terrifying ten-foot doll, to the bloody aftermath of games, this gruesome series has all the elements that a survival drama fanatic will love. The ending was a bit boring, but it definitely drops hints that we are getting season two sooner or later.
- Creator Hwang Dong-hyuk began working on the script in 2008 and it was supposed to be a movie
- The phone number used in the series belongs to a real person and it received 4,000 calls a day after 'Squid Game' release
- The game with 'Dalgona candy' played in the second round has now become a popular TikTok challenge
- Squid Game is the first Korean drama to rank No. 1 on Netflix's top-10 show chart in the United States
- The pickpocketer Sae-byeok in reality is a top-notch model, whose followers on Instagram were 400,000 before Squid Game and now it is 18 Millions.