‘The Deal’ review: Paramount+’s Korean thriller is preposterous and preposterously entertaining

'The Deal' review: Paramount+'s Korean thriller is preposterous and preposterously entertaining

After two years of consideration, it is no surprise that Netflix has achieved unprecedented success Squid game It was not immediately repeatable. But it’s quite surprising that so few of the biggest TV platforms have tried to reproduce this success. There may have been a noticeable rise in Korean programming available in the United States, but perhaps in tacit acknowledgment of the fact Squid game had become Squid game Because of the subtle word-of-mouth explosion – there was no apparent rise in shows getting a big promotional push in hopes of becoming the next Squid game.

If nothing else, Paramount+ is giving the new six-part drama a boost compromise, from writer and director Jeon Woo-sung. It’s often easy to see why.


Bottom line

One shot taut wonder.

Offer date: Thursday 5 October
ejaculate: Jin Sun Kyu, Jun Jung Seo, Chang Ryul
Creator/Director: Jeon Woo Sung

compromise Not, of course, the next day Squid game. nothing. Or when something is, it will likely appear out of nowhere.

But it’s not a completely inappropriate comparison, especially thematically: e.g Squid game, compromise It uses a detailed exercise of the genre of class critique in which the elite prey on the economically disadvantaged both literally and figuratively. compromise It may be less pessimistic poetry than Svs. gamebut often, metaphorically, to eviscerate the commodity culture that objectifies the poor and monetizes them, right down to the biological details, is very ironic.

As was the case with Squid gameit would be easy for anyone who wanted to ignore the message of the series – witness Netflix’s soulless decision to make a “real” version of the series. Squid game – Focus on the formal elements compromisebecause Jeon Woo-sung’s direction is attention-grabbing, formula-challenging, and, at its best, downright gorgeous.

It so happens that between the provocative topics and flashy direction, compromise It has a ridiculously over-extended story and characters. But with episodes clocking in at a stunning 35-37 minutes, you can avoid focusing on those flaws as much as you choose.

compromise The film begins with Park Joo-young (Jeun Jung-seo) staring listlessly out the window of a comfortable but distant hotel. All you can see in the distance are the mountains and the reservoir. She’s waiting for Noh Hyung-soo (Jin Sun-kyu), who has reached an agreement to take Joo-Young’s virginity for the agreed upon price of $1,000 (according to the sometimes choppy translation). Hyung Soo likes what he sees and expresses his happiness that in a world where nothing is advertised, Jo Young looks like her image. But he doubts her virginity and demands to see the blood. ew.

He then tries to haggle over its price, one of many ways in which the show’s title is literal. Hyung Soo is disgusting. The whole situation is terrible. But do not worry. Things get worse!

See, despite her schoolgirl uniform and exaggerated laugh, Jo Young is not actually an 18-year-old high school student. She’s an operative for an organ-trafficking ring, and soon Hyung-soo – who is also not who he claims to be – is strapped to a stretcher and put up for auction, selling his bits and pieces to the highest bidder. Hyung-soo’s first kidney has been sold for over $100,000 to Gook Ryul (Chang Ryul), an obedient son whose father keeps being raped on the transplant list by wealthier patients, when the hotel is rocked by an earthquake and then a landslide.

Hyung-soo, Joo-young, and sometimes Geuk-ryul (whom everyone mostly calls “the good son”) spend the next two and a half hours trying to escape the collapsed ruins of the hotel, where they will discover that people whose morals allow them to buy and sell the organs of unwitting victims are also willing To do anything to survive. With millions potentially stolen from the coffers of the crumbling establishment, the stakes and body count will rise.

Here I should mention the conceit, or perhaps artifice, behind Woo-Sung’s adaptation of what was apparently a 2015 South Korean short film: Every Episode compromise It’s designed to look like one continuous shot, and if you remove the title sequences and occasional title cards, one can treat the show as a three-hour continuous take — even some cheating in the lackluster final minutes, designed to set up the second season.

Now, at this point, savvy viewers have been trained to recognize compelling pieces. compromise Full of them, some of it is very, very obvious – when the camera follows the characters as they fall from a high floor of the hotel through a perfectly symmetrical opening that runs from the roof to the basement, it’s not actually a continuous action shot – and some of it makes use of the chaotic environment provided by flashing lights, pockets of darkness and pillars of darkness. Debris is distractions and artistic tricks.

Sometimes there is a question “How did he do that?” It is set to be directed by Woo-sung and cinematography by Young-Ho Kim. I often enjoyed the consistent claustrophobic effect that comes from this technique, as the characters start on the fifth floor of the hotel, make their way down to the basement where a pair of workers dispose of hollow bodies, and then work their way back up through the hotel in search of… About escape.

The hotel, as I said before, is a metaphor, as is generally the case in the building escape subgenre. from Towering hell to Raid to DreadStories like these use their settings as an embodiment of a hierarchy in which the rich sit precariously at the top, doing anything they can to ignore and then oppress the struggling at the bottom.

It’s also an easily fragmented environment that lends itself to episodic storytelling. The basement’s basement—home to a swimming pool filled with fish, corpse-cutting tools, and dirty, cracked tiles on the walls and floor—looks like something out of opinion A film, in which the director tortures and attempts to escape in the most dazzling work of the show. One of the later episodes involves events in a very cramped hotel room; Another becomes something of Reservoir dogswith lots of intense screaming and bargaining as the characters try to figure out who they can trust and what they must do to survive.

The series’ production design is, by necessity, a fluid marvel, full of twisting corridors and strategically placed cracks and gaps for the characters to navigate or detect approaching horror through. Just because a few of the endless cutscenes are longer than five or 10 minutes without cuts doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of very complex choreography at play.

I mentioned characters a few times there, and I probably should have put “characters” in quotation marks. compromise It’s mostly bickering and escalation between Hyung-Soo and Joo-Young, with the occasional appearance of the good son, who shows up exclusively to demand that Hyung-Soo fulfill his responsibilities, in terms of organs, however involuntary that donation may be. It’s there for a weird kind of serious comedy as well as part of a running joke in which all these people, victims of circumstance, demand that others take responsibility for things — medical justice, infrastructure improvement, decency — that should be the ideal solution. Powers of the state and religious institutions. Chang provides one kind of dark laugh and Jin offers both high drama and a broader kind of comedy, since his character is stuck dealing with the apocalypse in red boxer shorts and bright galoshes for most of the series. It’s left to Jun to play the most realized character in a show in which hardly anyone else has a name, making Joo-Young a capable victim and perpetrator depending on the moment.

Don’t spend too much time trying to think about the realism of the interactions between any of the main characters. Don’t spend too much time thinking about the practical geography of the hotel. And definitely don’t spend too much time trying to understand the business plan behind this prostitution/trafficking ring. This is not a show that thrives on common sense or nuance, which caused my interest to diminish somewhat as the series rushed toward a conclusion that felt more routine than cumulative.

However, as an intense piece of directorial prowess and a dark satire of the dehumanizing state of contemporary culture, compromise Well worth what should be initial curiosity and then increasing hype.

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