Review: Squid Game


Loor Elbedour

Squid Game, released by Netflix on September 17, 2021, is a psychological thriller written and directed by South Korean film director and screenwriter, Hwang Dong-hyuk. The show became an overnight sensation and is No. 1 in 94 countries around the world; it has been translated into 31 languages.

Throughout nine episodes, the show tells of a dystopian present day in which individuals in extreme debt are subjected to a series of games that ask them to risk their lives in order to win prize money. Throughout the show the characters participate in six childhood games such as Red Light, Green Light and Tug of War; they compete against each other for the last standing person to receive 45.6 billion won which is 39,043,130 US dollars.

The show stars a diverse set of characters with personalities on opposites of the spectrum. It shows how characters with different backgrounds handle their at home situations by running away from them to play the games for a shot at alleviating their financial struggles. A cool part of the show was how they added Anupam Tripathi, who played Ali (Player 99), to the cast. It really diversified the show not just in terms of race, but how his personality was lighthearted and naïve compared to the other characters that were more tense. The raw emotion and vulnerability displayed by the characters stood out greatly. It gave a more realistic sense to the show, allowing normal people to relate more to the show. Another thing that appealed to me was the abstract and colorful sets.

Considering all perspectives, the show has been well reviewed. However, critics from Variety have pointed out how the show “normalizes and condemns violence”. Additionally, Netflix frequently comes under fire for what is perceived as poor translation of original audio into subtitles. Many say that it completely takes away the meaning of the words said by the actors when there is a poor translation of it in other languages. This doesn’t allow the person watching to fully grasp the severity of scenes when meaningful words are translated to blank and broad sentences.

Overall, I give the show a 4/5 rating for an engaging plot and interactive characters.