The new addition to Netflix, ‘The Platform,’ directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, is a timely cautionary tale that points to the toxic repercussions of living in a world overrun by selfishness and greed.
The film is set in a prison, where natural light and fresh air have no way of sneaking in, is used to symbolize our society. ‘The hole,’ is what it’s called, highlights the hierarchy prevalent in society with the ones on the highest floor – 1st floor – being treated better and having access to more food than the ones on lower floors. With 2 inmates on each floor, a platform of food stops for a few minutes on each floor and the ones on lower floors eat the leftovers of all the floors above them. Hence, by the time the platform reaches say floor 100 the food is all gone. Every month, the inmates are randomly allotted to another floor, so an inmate on floor 1 could be shifted to floor 140 the next month, without him or her having any say in the shift. In the film’s rooted-in-reality speculative fiction, food is the currency that separates the haves from the have-nots. The nightmarish analogies that the film draws may seem rather obvious, considering where the human race is at this point in its history, but The Platform still manages to startle us with its stark, brutal revelations of the noxious. It’s staggering to see how the ones inside have no qualms in running the already downtrodden further into the ground for selfish gain.
A layered screenplay (by David Desolo and Pedro Rivero), incredible performances (with lead actor Ivan Massague) and fabulous production design (probably its best feature) combine to make the action-packed, repulsive yet profound spilling on Netflix, a fascinating story.
The film opens in a brightly lit kitchen, which instantly peaks the viewers curiosity and al the credits are to the production design. The contrast between the brightly lit kitchen and the dark, dull cells provide the perfect introduction to what the prison symbolizes. The food, perfect at level 0 in the kitchen, becomes a nauseating mess by the time it reaches the middle levels and that’s where – level 48, to be specific – we meet the protagonist, Goreng, a stranger to the ways of this prison.
(SPOILERS IN THE NEXT PARAGRAPH)
Trimagasi (Zorion Eguileor), Goreng’s cellmate, is a character that definitely sticks not only in Goreng’s head but even the viewers. The old man’s sinister tone rings in your mind for the length of the movie (hopefully not after). Hunger, he says after the two men have been allotted floor 171, “unleashes the mad man in us… it is better to eat than be eaten” but before Goreng can understand the meaning of this sentence blood has already been spilt, including his own.
The viewers mind moves from one-point to another; never static, thinking about what could possible happen next in this confined prison. Why is Goreng the protagonist? Is he some sort of Messiah who will show the inmates (society) the ‘correct way?’ Does he wish to do this through “spontaneous solidarity” or force?
Goreng’s character is complex, evolving after each experience in this prison, meeting different inmates, be it Miharu (Alexandra Masangkay) or Baharart (Emilio Buale Coka), and living on different floors. There are times where we start seeing similarities between Goreng and Trimagasi and times when Goreng understands how the world in the prison works as he attempts to find a way out. Eventually the movie boils down to a mission: to send a message to “administration” or the “chefs” perhaps to essentially create a fault in the system.
All in all, the platform will not fill you with positivity or hope, if that’s what you’re looking for, among these troubled times between COVID-19 or any political issues (just 2020 as year I guess) but will fill you with a heightened sense of realism as we contemplate what the future holds for mankind by bringing its audience face-to-face with the misfortunes piled upon those who have to satisfy themselves from the crumbs that are thrown on them by a select few. The movie is a blow to the gut that questions whether it is truly possible to remain pure and uncorrupted in an environment that breeds suspicion and distrust. No. The tragedies in the film are too severe for anyone, even for Goreng, a man who entered “the whole” to quit smoking with a book for a companion, to come out undamaged and uncorrupted. The film really opens your eyes towards the world around us, providing a new perspective to those innocent souls who still haven’t stepped out into our cruel, unforgiving world.
– Aryamaan Dholakia
Aryamaan’s Rating – 80/100