Review: Squid Game makes comments on monetary ambitions

Squid+Game+was+released+on+Netflix+on+Sept.+17.

Screenshot by Tania Ortiz

Squid Game was released on Netflix on Sept. 17.

Marbella Ramirez, News Editor

This review is spoiler free.

Squid Game is a South Korean drama series produced by Netflix that has recently taken the world by storm. It is featured on Netflix’s Top 10 in multiple countries and is trending on social media as the topic of memes, analyses and theories.

Starring Lee Jung-jae as Seong Gi-hun, Park Hae-soo as Cho Sang-woo and Wi Ha-jun as Hwang Jun-ho, Squid Game tells the story of multiple people in debt who are promised liberty from the pursuit of loan sharks, police and most importantly financial distress in exchange for their completion of a series of six different children’s games.

During the lowest point in their life, players are scouted by an unnamed man in a suit, played by Gong Yoo. He gains their trust by playing a quick and easy game with them, ultimately leading to the players winning money from his cash-filled suitcase.

Afterwards, they are given a business card and invited to call the number to enroll in a life-changing competition. The deal seems to be too good to be true, but Gi-hun as well as 455 other participants accept the gamble.

Players are instructed to appear at a random location where they are picked up and gassed to sleep, leaving all information of the game secret. It isn’t until the first player is eliminated that they find out what really is at stake.

Squid Game takes the lightheartedness of children’s games, and morphs it to drastically make a social criticism of the monetary ambitions of the world. The contrast between the innocence of the games played and selfishness of individuals makes this criticism evident.

The series is short, only consisting of nine episodes, each around an hour long, showing just how strong the narrative and directive choices are as they precisely present the theme in the slightest ways. By the end of the series, the audience is sure to have a different outlook on society.

Each episode is laced with thrills that leave viewers at the edge of their seats, sometimes blinding the audience from noticing the hints hidden in plain sight that reveal answers to plot holes. In a sense, the series is a game itself, allowing the audience to piece together the hints before the twists are revealed.

Each episode ends with a cliffhanger, therefore, it is not recommended to start this series  before making plans because it is not guaranteed viewers can move from their seat.

While there is one character who is considered the “main character” all actors play a crucial role in the storyline. Each is carefully formulated to draw emotion from the audience. The actors played their roles phenomenally, causing emotions such as anger, sadness and disbelief to unknowingly seep out of the viewer. While watching the series, you can expect yourself to curse some of the characters while for others you will yearn to comfort.

Many of the actors became hot topics and gained mass followings on their social media accounts, such as Ha-jun who was dubbed “the hot cop” and acting debut Jung Ho-jeon who played Kang Sae-byeok.

There are multiple parallels between the series and other dystopian stories, such as The Hunger Games. However, what is chilling about the plotline in Squid Game is the realness of the setting. Whereas stories such as The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games are set in an alternate society, Squid Game is set in modern day South Korea.

Debt and the growing distance between classes is a genuine issue, not only in Korea but around the world. This is part of the reason why the series is both appealing and terrifying.

The series was worth the watch when using the original Korean audio. Netflix gives the option for dubbed audio, however those more often than not have awkward moments that end up throwing off the viewers attention.

All nine episodes of Squid Game are available to stream on Netflix.

The Cougar Chronicle: The independent student news site of California State University, San Marcos