June 24, 2024

Bargain Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online

Bargain
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Bargain Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online

It is inevitable that comparisons will be made between the new Korean drama Bargain and the all-conquering K-drama Squid Game that became the most watched show in Netflix history (racking up 1.65bn viewing hours in its first 28 days). So, let’s make a brute list of their even more brute similarities.

Both shows are an addictive blend of relentless tension and escalating depravity. Both have mastered the art of making the viewer think “things can’t possibly get any worse” before launching into another scene that proves the viewer wrong. Both are about capitalism and how it’s going to send us all to hell in a handbasket sooner rather than later. They are both innovative, fascinating and unhinged. They both require you to lie down in a calm, darkened room after every episode. (The whole series of Bargain is being released at once, so it is technically bingeable but if you can manage that I would like you to hand yourself in at the nearest police station at once.)

Bargain is nevertheless its own thing. The series has grown out of an award-winning 2015 short film of the same name by Lee Chung-hyun. The television version is directed by Jeon Woo-sung, who was involved in making the original.

The first episode opens with a horrible negotiation between a young woman, Park Joo Young (Jun Jong-seo), offering to sell her virginity to an older man, Noh Hyung Soo (Jin Sun-kyu), in an isolated hotel for $1,000. Maybe we are in for a critique of the sex industry and patriarchy too? He gets the price down to $70, but he will soon come to regard that as very much the high point of his day, because the young woman is a cog in a well-oiled business machine that deals in trafficked human organs, and her would-be punter is soon bound and on display to an assembled throng of people bidding on his constituent parts. Maybe it’s a female revenge fantasy as well? “Our first ordinary citizen in a while,” says Joo Young cheerfully. “We’ll give you a minute to check out the merchandise … If you touch him, that’s sexual harassment.” Jeon Woo-sung knows it is good to mix your tale of illegal organ farming with humour.

A young man called Guk Ryeol (Chang Ryul) places the winning bid – thanks to a loan he takes out with the organisers that uses some of his own bits as collateral – for one of Hyung Soo’s kidneys that is intended for his dying father. Then an earthquake hits, the hotel collapses and suddenly it’s a 70s disaster movie as well as everything else. But now a pair of monstrous brothers, usually safely locked in the basement, are free to roam. And the management, looking to protect its secrets, are sending murderous thugs around the shattered building to do so. And there’s another faction that may be planning a coup. And some surviving bidders who, as established by their attendance at an auction for living human tissue, are not the least murderous of people either. One notable difference Bargain does have from Squid Game is that there is no one to root for, no hapless innocent (relatively speaking) to get behind. They are all awful. There is a central hole right through the middle of the five-storey building that anyone can fall or be pushed into at any moment and there is no one here you would be even momentarily sorry to see go.

Joo Young, Hyung Soo and Ryeol survive the earthquake and form a coalition of the unwilling. Ryeol helps Hyung Soo because he still reckons he owns the man’s kidney and needs to protect his investment. Joo Young, an absolutely mesmeric blend of charm, boredom and coolly appraising criminal, will ditch them the minute she can be sure she can escape alone – ideally with the $7m she knows the boss has stashed in his office – and Hyung Soo is losing his mind in the claustrophobic horror of it all and the audience is right there with him.

It is more complex and clever than Squid Game. Whether this will help to make it an even bigger hit or be a hindrance remains to be seen. But whoever sees a minute of it will be in for the duration. Though not all at once. Unless you can stomach that, in which case please seek help.

Bargain Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online