Gambling can be fun, if you know that you are in control of your money. As long as you don´t spend more than you can afford, you can play any games that you want. But there are a lot of people worldwide who are addicted to gambling, where they loose their home, their marriage, and even have to sell everything they have to pay debts. I actually know one guy, who got in real big problems with gambling. He made some deals with a well known criminal biker gang here in Sweden, and it did not end well. In respect to his family, i will not go into further details. All i can say is that if he only would have asked someone for help for his addiction, he might have been able to turn things around. Of course not everyone can be saved, some people can not change their behavior. I still want to feel hope for people, that anyone who really need to change their lives, should have the chance to make a change. Since we talked about gambling, let´s talk about playing games. There is one film that really took playing a game to a completely different level than we have ever seen before. And that happened 20 years ago in 2001, in the South Korean film Battle Royale from director Kinju Fukasaku. Battle Royale is a very unique film, and is actually one of the few original films from the early 2000´s ( expect for Christopher Nolan´s powerful film Memento of course, a must see ). Battle Royale tells the story of a school class, who are out on a field trip, but they are gassed and taken to a remote island. Their teacher Kitano ( Takeshi Kitano ) explain to the whole class, that they have been chosen to participate in the annual Battle Royale. They have three days to fight until death until a victor emerges. Battle Royale is not only a really good film, but this film also show how you handle yourself, knowing that you are forced to kill to survive. This is definetely on my list of the best films of early 2000´s, and i suggest you get the Blu Ray from Arrow Video. Over this year i have heard so much positive words about a new TV series called Squid Game. This seemed to be a TV series that might have been influenced by Battle Royale, with a completely different look. Since i am such a big fan of Battle Royale, i just had to see what this Netflix series have to offer. With both critics and audiences praising Squid Game across the world, is this one of the better TV series this year, or is the hype way too big to be true for Squid Game?
Seong Gi--hun ( Lee Jung-jae ), is a man who´s life is falling apart. He is addicted to gambling, still living at home with his mother, and he owns money to people in big numbers. He is running out of luck, until one day, when he is offered to play a series of children´s games for a chance to a large cash grab. He accepts the offer, and is taken to an unkown location. Inside a building, 456 players are all gathered there to play these games. Each one have been chosen because they are all in a deep financial debt. At first it all seems to be pretty innocent, until they find out that you can be killed, if you don´t follow the rules. Suddenly, these games are not very harmless anymore, but the only way out to survive, and win the ulitmate prize.
Even if Squid Game and Battle Royale have some similar ideas, there is still a big difference between the classic film and this TV series. Squid Game definetely show a completely different approach on playing games, by using addiction into the plot. In Battle Royal, it was basically more abut survival itself, and no addiction included. And i have to say, the idea to especially focus on people with gambling addiction into the plot is actually a clever combination. How far are you willing to go if you could pay all your debts, that this might be the last chance you have to get a normal life? I think one of the most interesting details about Squid Game, is how inspired this production seems to be by legendary director Stanley Kubrick, and especially his last film Eyes Wide Shut. You will notice this toward the end of the season, when we see both the staff wearing their masks, but especially the VIP members who are visiting, to bet on who will survive. It definetely feels like Eyes Wide Shut could have inspired director Hwang Dong-hyuk to make these gorgeous looking VIP scenes, with a completely different plot of course. In Eyes Wide Shut we would see a secret society, who gather with members only. There is a similar idea with Squid Game to the Eyes Wide Shut society, wich i find very interesting. The children games that each contender will have to play, feels refreshing in the sense that they did not try and copy The Hunger Games in any way, but tries a different path. And the plot surrounding these games have so much more to offer, than just the games themselves. The acting is really good, basically from all the actors. Of course there are a few actors who stand out, and one of them is without a doubt Lee Jung-jae as Seong Gi-hun. To be able to play a gambling addict powerful is not easy, but he does a really strong performance and show all the emotions of an addict. Actress Kim Joo-ryung definetely deliver one of the most insane acting performances as the character Han Mi-nyeo, and i am really looking forward to see what she will do next. Squid Game is a perfect example of how easy it is to use human lives, who are chosen for their addiction. They are the perfect people to sacrifice, because they basically have lost everything on the outside world. This is of course a big tragedy, knowing that you use the lives of human beings to believe that they will be rich. But i also think this is one of the reasons why Squid Game is so powerful, that you really see human behavior, and what it could cause in complicated situations. Definetely one of the best TV series i have seen this year, Squid Game does not only deliver top quality acting, but actually feels original as well. How often do we see that these days? A must see for fans of quality TV series, and fans of Stanley Kubrick as well.