Netflix’s “Squid Game” has been released a couple of days ago and since I’ve completed the drama, a review is in order.
Today, I am here to review Netflix’s “Squid Game” and discuss why I believe it is one of the best kdramas I have seen in a while.
Note: this will be a spoiler-free review. This is a subjective review.
Netflix’s “Squid Game” was written and directed by PD Hwang Dong Hyuk who is best known for working on movies, this is his first ever attempt at a drama and it was a successful attempt.
According to the PD, he has written the script since 2009 but wasn’t able to make it, back then, he was told it was impossible to make such a project come to life. And if you’ve been a longtime kdrama fan, you probably already agree that this would have been impossible to make back then. A movie, maybe, but not a kdrama.
The results are amazing. I had so much fun watching “Squid Game.” I had high expectations and it truly lived up to them.
In terms of plot and ‘plot-twists,’ many points were to be expected. You see, if you watch Japanese dramas or movies revolving around death games, then “Squid Game” is probably not going to cut it for you. It will probably feel average. However, if you’ve never watched content revolving around death games but love bloody kdramas, this will be a godsend.
It’s all about perspective and watching experience.
The PD has also stated in an interview that he was inspired by mangas, you can clearly feel that in his final project. He manages to put a Korean spin on the popular sub-genre of death games horror popular in Japanese culture.
Circling back to the plot twists, I wasn’t that wowed with it in terms of shock, I have seen Japanese death games movies and dramas before, not a lot, but I’ve seen enough to know what to expect with such a setting. There is only so much you can do with such a setting. So almost all reveals felt a bit expected for me, but it was still hella fun to watch, I was also thrilled about how the PD wasn’t afraid of getting bleak and hella bloody. This was possible because of the medium he chose to bring his project to life, Netflix.
Its edgy, vibrant and has a hint of dark comedy. It all works so well together and you can tell every single detail was accounted for. You can tell the PD has worked on this multiple times, if you pay close attention, almost everything adds up, especially if you re-watch the drama, it is a lot of fun to watch it after the final moments.
What makes it even better and more terrifying is how it presents an allegory of our current social-economic crisis, It tackles how this truly pushes people off the edge enough to force them to knowingly compete in a death battle for $40 million. You wind up understanding what would push someone to the edge so much so that they’d be okay dying if they didn’t win the prize. It is truly heartbreaking because it mirrors the reality of what we have to deal with.
The characters and performances
A lot of work has gone into the characters in the drama too, although it doesn’t get too specific, it gives enough information to make you care and sympathize with the characters.
Gi Hun [played brilliantly by Lee Jung Jae] is the epitome of a likable petty character. The way Lee Jung Jae allows himself to become Gi Hun is astonishing, he isn’t afraid to go so far as to make sure you get the message you need to get about the character. I was in shock watching him, he was so fun to watch.
Park Hae Soo was also stunning. Honestly, the casting for the drama is amazing. Whoever has done the casting deserves a raise.
There is a fresh face in this drama. “Squid Game” is Jung Ho Yeon’s debut project. She will become someone big one day if she continues to choose her projects wisely. I bet she was cast through auditions.
Everyone in this drama was amazing, I loved the way the characters were written. They’re not your classical 2D kdrama characters who are either good or evil, there is a gray area, and its up to each one of us to decide whether you’d consider whoever a good or bad character.
Should I watch this drama?
“Squid Game” is definitely a drama I’d recommend. This is one of my favorite 2021 kdramas and one of my favorite kdramas in recent memory. It is so easy to binge.
However, if you’re not too keen on heavy topics in kdramas or if you dislike gore and violent kdramas, this might not be the one for you. Also, if you’ve seen your fair share of Japanese death games dramas and movies, this will probably not live up to your expectations.