While we’re trapped and hoarding toilet paper, I thought it would be appropriate to review a movie about being trapped and hoarding. Unfortunately, it’s not about hoarding toilet paper, but that would be hilarious. No, no, this is a horror film and it’s not for the faint of heart.
The Platform is a Spanish horror/thriller and science fiction film. It was directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia and released in 2019, but Netflix found the best time to give it to us. But don’t worry, this film is much, much more drastic than what’s going on today. It is simply a movie after all, albeit a terrifying one.
The film takes place in a tower-like prison called "the Pit", and it’s filled with many levels. There are two inmates per level, and in the center of each level is a giant hole. A platform filled with food descends the hole, and the inmates only have two minutes to eat as much as they can. Unfortunately, those on the upper levels are able to take more food, while those at the bottom only get what’s left…or nothing at all. It’s usually the latter, but the inmates can do nothing about it.
Each month, the inmates are randomly assigned a different floor. So it’s pure luck if they’re able to get to an upper level, but it’s a terrible one if they get a lower. While contained in these cells, they’re able to bring one item with them. One character brings their dog, while another brings some rope.
The film stars Iván Massagué Horta, who plays a man named Goreng. He brings along the book, Don Quixote, in which some of the themes, such as chivalry, play out in the film. Goreng shows signs of chivalry, a contrast to other characters who show nothing more but ignorance as they fend for themselves.
Goreng is stuck with an older man named Trimagasi, played by Zorion Eguileor. Unlike Goreng, Trimagasi is greedy and spits on the food whenever he’s done. He even pisses on the inmates right below him for a laugh.
Trimagasi brought a knife with him, which begs the question, why did the higher ups thought it would be a good idea for someone to bring a knife? Yes, that would definitely make their situation better.
Anyhow, the film is an…interesting one. It reminds me of Snowpiercer, in which the remnants of society are trapped on a train. The poor are forced into the back, living in harsh conditions while the rich are at the front, living a life of luxury.
I think I liked Snowpiercer a bit more, but The Platform is still entertaining. The film certainly immersed me into its strange world. Though, we don’t know what the world is like outside of the prison. We’re trapped in this place just like everyone else, giving us a sense of claustrophobia and helplessness.
The film is certainly uncomfortable. There were a few times where I physically squirmed and had to pause. Yeah, yeah, call me squeamish, but at least I managed to watch it all. And…I don’t know, I wished there was more? If there’s one big complaint I have, it’s the ending.
I won’t get into spoilers, but I’ll say that the ending left me somewhat empty. Questions are still unanswered and so it’s up to the audience to interpret it all. Now sometimes it’s cool for endings to be left for interpretation, but other times it’s kind of…eh. This is on the ‘eh’ spectrum, at least for me. I’m sure others will feel satisfied, but I suppose I simply wanted a bit more.
There’s a lot of diversity in this film, especially since it’s a foreign one. I already mentioned the actors who played Goreng and Trimagasi, and they do a great job portraying characters who are desperate to survive their situation. We also have Miharu, played by Alexandra Masangkay. She’s in search of her child and will do whatever it takes to find him. There’s also another woman named Imoguiri played by Antonia San Juan. She wants the inmates to ration their food so that everyone can have something to eat.
There’s several more POC such as Baharat played by Emilio Buale, whom wants to make peace with the inmates below and above him. He’s a very sympathetic character, especially compared to Trimagasi who is…well, he’s someone you definitely wouldn’t want to be stuck in a cell with.
All sorts of characters are trapped in this prison. There’s even a character with down syndrome, and another who’s disabled. They barely play much of a role, but they do make an impact to our lead in some way.
With there being all kinds of people — young and old, healthy and unwell — the prison is its own society. A corrupted one at that as the only people who have control are those on top. Though, anyone can be at the top by sheer luck, while others have to resort to drastic measures when they’re left at the bottom.
The Platform is definitely not for everyone. It’s dark, uncomfortable, and there are things that don’t make sense. The premise is original, but some of the aspects could’ve been executed better. It’s an interesting film to watch during this pandemic, but if you want to watch something happy to get your mind off current events, I completely understand.
The Platform is currently available to watch on Netflix
Movie review originally published by Lauren Massuda on March 28, 2020.