DEFINITION January 2022 – Web


MAJOR CLUES Once there are only three players left, it’s clear to see each of the challenges painted on the dormitory walls

hardest plummets the opposition to their deaths. These platforms were built to be over 33 feet high, allowing the actors to unlock the fear that their characters would feel. This realism is also notable in the iconic first challenge, ‘red light, green light’, in which all 456 players partake in the initial game, knocking out hundreds of competitors. The scene’s freakishly huge, motion-detecting doll spins round and ‘eliminates’ any players moving after ‘red light’, its robotic eyes scanning the huge arena for any signs of movement – dealing with it in lethal terms. Usually, for scenes of this size that demand swathes of actors, producers turn to technology to generate the other life forms. However, the arena for this challenge was, of course, true to size. This called for a cast of over 400 extras to partake in the scene, and in turn, elevated the thrilling nature of the finished cut. READING BETWEEN THE PROPS Layered throughout Squid Game ’s enormous sets are hidden messages – so many, in fact, that it’s impossible to pick up on all of them after one sitting.

“Usually, for scenes of this size, producers turn to technology to generate the other life forms. However, the arena was true to size”

giveaway – shown in-shot time and time again – is easily missed. There are also multiple set clues to the truth behind the ‘Old Man’, one of which is during the marbles challenge. This process sees the masked soldiers demand each of the players partner up with one another. Naturally, they instinctively select those they have grown to trust. Unbeknown to them, they are choosing the one person they will be competing against to survive the next round. The marbles challenge takes place in a large space, built to look like the narrow streets and walls of a town. The Old Man has a breakdown when entering, which we discover is part of his act. It is clear his character is attacked with nostalgia on arrival, stating that the set strongly resembles where he grew up. This, paired with the childish challenges, is a major hint towards how the games are built around the Old Man’s character. The cast had received the script long before they actually saw the sets in person, and were said to have felt a similar sense of nostalgia when entering the marbles set. PAINTING A PICTURE Among the plethora of hidden messages laced throughout the nine episodes, there are instances where the immense sets,

These small – or sometimes big – details within the sets are hints and clues that foreshadow upcoming events. The loudest of these is found in the set most present throughout the series: the dormitory. The room itself is enormous and striking, with its piles of bed frames (said to be made using tunnelling equipment) that cover the circumference of the large space in descending stacks – each one emulating the life of an individual player. Park Hae-soo, who plays the villainous Cho Sang-woo, stated in press interviews that the dorm felt as though one was acting in the Colosseum – due to the sheer size of the room and its tiered format. As players are gradually eliminated, we see these stacks of bed frames begin to thin out. Particularly after the fight scene; where players eliminate themselves during the night, mass-murdering one another in a dynamic moment of collaborative derangement. As the bed frames come down, the walls gradually become visible. They are littered with markings and childlike drawings. On closer inspection, it becomes clear that each of these illustrations depict all six challenges that the players are due to take part in, providing a massive plot clue. Both the characters and the viewers are so deeply drawn into the unfolding events, that this

27. JANUARY 2022

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