“Squid Game” (2021) is a 9-episode Korean drama, created by Hwang Dong-hyuk and exclusively aired through Netflix. The story revolves around 456 desperate individuals who will compete in a series of Korean tradional children’s games for a chance to win the 45.6 billion won. Unknowingly, each game is twisted to eliminate the losers by death until only one remains.
Although the show is quite brutal, creepy, and violent, it illustrates the painful realities of life and dark side of human nature in the real world.
Here are some of the reasons why this drama is relevant and worth the stream on Netflix:
1. It raises public awareness on bad capitalism and violation of human rights.
While capitalism provides innovation, progress, and improved standard of living, it does not work for everyone.
The truth is that only a small minority of the global human population, the elite or the rich, benefits from the cycle of accumulated money, resources, power, and control. Whereas, the vast majority of people suffers from economic inequaliy, rising poverty, lack of access to opportunities, and erosion of human rights.
“Squid Game” raises public awareness on such issues, where the VIPs or elites connived to make life more fun and increase more profit by betting on poor humans.
“If you have too much money, then it doesn’t matter what you buy, or eat, or drink, or whatever. Everything gets boring,” the game host revealed to the winner the reason behind the deadly game. Money, indeed, can’t buy happiness.
Although the intention is good in helping the 456 desperate players have a chance to live a comfortable life, the downside is brutality, murder, and violation of human rights.
Sadly, harm on humans also happens in real life for the purpose of economic growth, profit, and expansion. Think about the workplace maltreatment, lack of benefits, poor systems set-up by the society, and many others.
“We bet on humans,” the front man said. The VIPS bet on a selected player, the losers are eliminated by murder, the elite become richer, and the vulnerable are left in shambles.
2. It portrays realistic characters from all walks of life.
While the 2021 drama, “Squid Games” resembles the 2012-2015 film trilogy, “Hunger Games”, the characters are much more realistic portraying individuals from all walks of life.
The drama explores the painful reality of life where humanity struggles to live through gambling, debts, dishonest gains, and stealing. “Life’s a gamble” to those who live in scarcity and shortage where they do desperate things in desperate situations in order to survive.
The characters move you to think, feel, and understand their personal outlook and choices in life caused by the injustices and suffering in the outside world. For instance, when the prize money was revealed to the players, half of them voted to continue the deadly games and majority returned for the second game.
“So what if we leave? Tell me, what changes? Just as bad out there as it is in here,” says Player #212.
“Where am I supposed to go? Out there, I don’t stand a chance. I do in here. No, I’ve got nothing out there,” says Player #322.
Think about the rising crimes around us. What causes them to do harmful things?
3. It reflects the reality that greed and self-interest are universal human problems.
Whether wealthy or underprivileged, greed and self-interest are universal human traits, driven either by pursuit of profits or escapism from financial hardships.
Sometimes, betrayal arises to survive for the lust of money. For example, the “Gganbu” game exposed the self-centeredness and greed of some players to win the round. It’s indeed a world where it’s hard to trust anyone, even those closest to you, when life is at stake.
However, the drama also shows that there are still good people amid a cruel world who sacrifices their chances for you to live better. Two players gave up their marbles, saying,
“I have nothing. You got a reason to get out of this place, but I don’t. The one who should have a reason to get back out there is you. You can do it. Don’t die in here.”
“Take it. It’s yours, anyway. We are gganbu, aren’t we? When you and I swore that we were gganbu buddies. Gganbu always share everything with each other no matter what.”
DRAMA RATING: 9/10
“Squid Game” is a well-directed action-adventure, suspense-thriller, survival-themed series. It doesn’t just raise public awareness on the painful realities of society, but it also serves a good quality production value.
The graphics and visual effects are good. The tension, twists, and turns make the plot exciting to watch. It is also star-studded where each one delivered a powerful performance, making the audience empathize, relate to the characters, and feel what the story wants to feel.
Moreover, the surprising appearances of Gong Yoo and Lee Byunghun adds fun, creativity, and quality to the series. Good job to the creators, production team, and entire cast.