SAN JOSE, CALIF.— Despite having only aired several weeks ago, the South Korean survival television series “Squid Game” has become a global phenomenon showcasing the grim realities of capitalist exploitation and victim desperation through a gruesome game. “Squid Game” remained first in Netflix’s top ten most-watched films in the U.S. for 19 days.
The nine-episode film written and directed by Hwang Dong-Hyuk depicts a dystopian world set in South Korea. Players were strategically recruited to participate in this heinous game assembled by an anonymous organization of people. These players are carefully selected, but possess one major thing in common: debt. Lead protagonist Seong Gi-Hun navigates his way through this life-threatening obstacle, encountering the five stages of grief- denial, isolation, anger, bargaining, and acceptance.
Hwang revealed that the writing of “Squid Game” was very personal to him. For example, the games played in the film were children’s games that Hwang played as a young child. Two main characters, Seong Gi-Hun and Cho Sang-woo were named after the director’s friends. Hwang referred to them as his “personal clones,” stating that he was raised in a financially troubled environment, similar to Seong’s current situation and attended the prestigious Seoul National University, just as Cho did.
Silver Creek freshman Tanzie Tran expressed that the plot was fairly intriguing, as it was different from other dystopian films and involved Korean children’s games. “I like the contrast between kid games and violence,” stated Amanda Quach, another Silver Creek freshman. “Squid Game” has been the constant talk of entertainment around the Silver Creek campus, just as it has globally, whether on social media or in real life.
The two freshmen explained that the casting choices also influenced the show’s prosperity. Featuring South Korean model Jung Ho-Yeon’s acting debut, “Train to Busan” actor Gong Yoo, and the actor of the heroic police officer in “Squid Game” Wi Ha-Jun, viewers expressed their excitement across numerous social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter. Twitter users tweeted eagerly about fan-made video edits of player 067, where Jung played Kang Sae-Byeok. Several other freshmen and sophomores discussed their discovery of Gong Yoo’s 42 year
–old –age, which starkly contrasted to his shockingly youthful complexion. “He’s 30-years-old,” said Kelson Vo, a sophomore at Silver Creek. “He’s literally 42,” freshman Jacklyn Luu responds, holding her phone out to him after conducting a google search of “Gong Yoo age.”
Another factor contributing to the film’s success is its well-rounded and realistic portrayal of capitalism and poverty in South Korea. There are many emotional scenes in which every character is confronted with a conflict, one that correlates to financial difficulties. For example, Seong’s mother was diagnosed with diabetes and he is unable to afford treatment. In exchange, he begs his own ex-wife for money and decides to participate in the actual “Squid Game” in order to provide for his mother. Another example in which wealthy, white and “prominent” business tycoons come to bid on the players is a disturbingly interesting scene in the film.
“Squid Game” has presented itself with various contributing factors towards its accomplishments as a film. From an effective choice in casting to the likes of real-world problems in a dystopian fantasy, “Squid Game” has proved itself just as good as others say. If you haven’t watched “Squid Game” yet, are you living under a rock?