The latest Netflix hit is directed by South Korean Hwang Dong-hyuk who perfectly combines horror, drama, violence and comedy.
Four films: Persecuted (1987), Cube (1997), Batle Royale (2000) and The Hunt. These films have in common that they are gamer films, that is, of passing screens where on each screen someone dies or many die. They are also about the human hunting, some with more comedy others with more drama, but in general they are a terribly macabre spectacle for the amusement of third parties and with the well marked class difference between murderers and murdered. And with these ingredients we find the new Netflix series: The Squid Game.
The new series of the platform is another model on the spectacle of very sadistic human survival. The basic argument is that they put 456 people in a childish games, that all Koreans have played as children. If you lose they kill you terribly, but if they win they win a prize of 45.6 billion won (33 million euros)
Hwang Dong-hyuk is in charge of writing and directing the South Korean series. Born in Seoul in 1997, he has four feature films written and directed by him. The Fortres (2017) is the director’s latest, a very good Korean medieval epic movie. The film has a stylistic calligraphy quite similar to that of the series.
The Squid Game has a very powerful static calligraphy, which blends perfectly with what you want to tell. The narration is quite functional accompanied by a very spectacular staging with zenith planes or large general planes. A very striking staging for the colors, the lighting or the decorations. Very similar to other successful series such as The Handmaid’s Tale or The Paper House, which respond a lot to the most spectacular Hollywood staging.
The protagonist of the hit Netflix title is Lee Jung-jae, known for his role in the 2010 remake of the great classic Korean film reference. The Horse. In addition to starring in Hwang’s aforementioned film, he also participates in New World (2013) by Park Hoon-jung and the recent crime thriller Free us from evil (2020) de Won-chan Hong.
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The Squid Game It is a great idea and a lot of fun if what you like the black mood because obviously the series is terribly cruel at times and very bloody. A perfect match, as Korean filmmakers tend to mix violence, horror, drama, and comedy very well. It is incredible how they can combine all these states of mind almost in a single sequence, achieving a really unique mixture when facing those images and that leads the viewer to have a quite violent response in itself.
The mixing of tones is even carried over to aesthetics in the series because it works a lot for juxtaposition of opposing concepts. 456 people face games where if they lose they die, but at the same time they are children’s games. Something totally innocent becomes a machine shredding people, and that looks great in elements of the series such as the colors.
The place where the contestants meet has colors cake on the stairs, which look like a maze or dollhouse. The games usually take place in a gigantic playground where the participants look like little more than insects. And here we find again juxtaposition of opposites to create this ambivalence between what is apparently fun and not child’s play with what is really happening, which is mass murder.
As in the films at the beginning, in The Squid Game you also see a social differentiation between classesThose who play games are people with a life of misery both professionally and personally, and those who organize the game and gamble are powerful people. This is a highly exaggerated metaphor for class difference although we are not that far off. Parasites or Burning, which may be the two best Korean films of this century, also had a lot to do with the important and stark difference between what it means to be one of those who have money or to be one of those who have no money.
The best thing about the series is obviously the games. There are six sets that are somehow advertised, but you have to look at a series of details that indicate it. Every time there is a game, the intensity is triggered by surprise, by how violent it is or by the drama that the series itself ends up arriving. And the fact is that the more you advance and as you get to know the characters more, although they are two-dimensional, the dramatic situation is quite categorical. In the end, when you are running out of characters, you can already imagine a little where this game is going so fun and terrifying at the same time.
Regarding the elements that the series raises there are things that are very good and others not so much. For example, there is a minimum subtrama of a surgeon who is very gore and tremendous. On the other hand, the subplot of the policeman is weak although I understand that it must be there to explain what is happening.
This theory about ‘The Squid Game’ would explain some things about its end (and the hypothetical season 2)
The Squid Game It is a very contemporary series model in that it is very addictive although it has filler -like almost all the series of the moment-. The idea and the development of the series are very interesting although it starts very strong and ends a little lower. Of course, the last chapter itself is quite interesting.