While English-language American and British films and series continue to dominate worldwide entertainment, South Korea has built a consistent and devoted fan base over the past two decades. K-Drama, K-Pop, and the odd K-Horror were all popular in the mid-2000s, as was old boy if you were a movie aficionado, but their general appeal was limited. With BTS’s increasing worldwide dominance in the 2010s, things began to pick up. They’ve become a worldwide sensation. And rightfully so. Let’s fast forward to 2019. The website is now available! After that, the rest is history.
Squid Game is the first post-Parasite Korean programme to captivate the audience in the same way as Bong Joon-Oscar-winning ho’s film did. It was named Netflix’s most popular series in less than a month!
Seong Gi-hun (played wonderfully by Lee Jung-jae), a driver living with his ailing mother, is introduced early in the first episode. He’s divorced and seldom sees his daughter, who now lives happily with her stepfather, while Gi-hun stays in a cramped, dark apartment with little natural light. He’s in debt to the point of bankruptcy, risking what little money he has on horse races in the hopes of making a fortune while also straining to pay for his mother’s care and against all odds to spend enough time with his own daughter. He’s a lost guy in a world where money buys everything.
Gi-hun (player 456) is brought to an island in the middle of nowhere with 455 other people who are also in debt. They are given a uniform – a green tracksuit (the most prevalent colour for school tracksuits in Korea) with a unique number with which they are referred to throughout the series. The guards, the enigmatic persons in masks who oversee the entire series of games, are in charge of them. The guards, like the players, have their own set of uniforms: pink tracksuits to match the greens. Little is known about them, although one may infer that their lifestyles were similar to the players’.
Hwang Dong-hyuk, the man of the moment and a well-known filmmaker in South Korea, fought for ten years to have this movie realised. However, I am convinced that this is the right time for the series. You can draw thematic connections raised by Squid Game no matter which nation you’re from. Dong-hyuk has developed an internationally relevant programme that is here to stay, while keeping the games and social problems firmly rooted in Korea.