‘The Platform’ or ‘El Hoyo’(The hole) in Spanish is a Horror-Thriller Movie directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia and released in 2020. If you want to watch a movie that will leave you mesmerized and haunted, this is the one. This movie is filled with many layers that dissecting each one of them is going to leave one stumped with the number of metaphors and interpretations carefully concealed in each of the scenes. This movie brilliantly reflects the capitalistic conundrum entangled in our society and how even fighting against it may only result in violence and death.
Streaming platform: Netflix
Iván Massagué as Goreng
Zorion Eguileor as Trimagasi
Antonia San Juan as Imoguiri
Alexandra Masankay as Miharu
Emilio Buale Coka as Baharat
Goreng, the protagonist, has volunteered to spend six months in a prison cell in exchange for a diploma. He wakes up in a concrete cell with the marking ‘48’ in its walls. From across the room, he finds his cellmate, an old man named Trimagasi, who was convicted of manslaughter and is serving a yearlong sentence.
Trimagasi explains to him that they are in a “Vertical Self-Management Centre”, where the prisoners get food through a platform. The platform, which is filled with various assortments of food, is first given to the prisoners at the first level and the leftovers are given to the prisoners at the lower levels. The prisoner’s cell number keeps changing every month and they have no control in determining anything.
Trimagasi and Goreng gradually form a friendship. One day as the platform was lowered with food, they find a bloodied woman on it. Trimagasi explains that the woman’s name is Miharu, who often goes to the lower levels in search of her child.
Things go well for Goreng. But on the day of the cell shuffle, Goreng finds himself tied to the bed. He finds out that his new cell is on the 171st level where the food will almost be non-existent. Trimagasi tells him that he was the one who tied him to the bed so that he can cut pieces of Goreng’s flesh and eat it to stay alive. But after a few days, as Miharu was going down the platform, she kills Trimagasi and frees Goreng. Goreng feeds of off Trimagasi’s corpse for the rest of the month.
The next month, he gets assigned to a new cell and a new cellmate. He wakes up on level 33rd with a woman named Imoguiri who had also volunteered to go to prison when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She worked for the facility and didn’t know it’s horrendous and inhumane nature. Goreng wakes up the next month on the 202nd level and finds that Imogouri has hung herself. Goreng had no choice but to eat her flesh to stay alive which resulted in him seeing hallucinations of Trimagasi and Imoguiri.
The next month, he gets assigned to the 6th level with his new cellmate Baharat, and together they plan a method to rationalize food for all the lower levels. They go down the platform providing people portions of their food and attacking the people who don’t cooperate. On their way they find Miharu fighting off two other inmates. Goreng and Baharat try to save her but she dies and they themselves are seriously injured.
Goreng and Baharat continue going down the levels where they find a child hiding under the bed on the 333rd level. Goreng realizes that she was Miharu’s daughter. They give her a pannacotta to eat, which they had been reserving to send it back up to the authorities. Baharat dies because of his injuries and Goreng realizes that the child is the message needed to be send-up. The next day Goreng takes the child and goes down the platform. They reach a dark pit which suggests that they have come past all the levels. Goreng gets off the platform as his hallucination of Trimagasi tells him that ‘the message doesn’t require a bearer’ and the girl alone ascends on the platform alone.
Interpretation and Review:
The concept of ‘The Platform’ is undeniably coruscating. The whole story takes place in a cell (or a hole) where food is served on a Platform which would be enough for everyone if each floor took their own shares. But the people at the upper levels stuff their faces lavishly while the situation for the lower levels turns grim and ghastly.
This movie was made to mirror the society and the people who live in it. We meet Trimagasi, a self-centered man who doesn’t really care about the corrupt system as he himself is corrupt. Then there was Imoguiri, a person who blindly worked for the system without knowing how truly evil it was. We see Miharu who represents a mother whose only duty was to take care of her child and then there was Baharat, who like Goreng, wanted to make changes for the better.
So, what exactly did Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia mean to portray in this psychological thriller? That question is left unanswered and it is mostly up to our audience to decipher. On one hand, it clearly seems to be a social commentary on anti-capitalism. It also seems to be telling a realistic story of how different people try to survive through the harsh life they have been thrust into. It tells a pretty clear analogy, that the people at the top tend to have more resources and power over the people at the bottom. Even when Goreng and Baharat try to ration the food, they can only control the people staying on the lower levels and didn’t succeed in getting command over the people at the top. Power seems to only flow downwards, just like in real life.
Then we see the child at the lowest level. The movie seems to be enforcing the idea that the child is the one who could bring a change. In the end, Goreng had to let the child ascend to the top alone while he walks away. Was this the movie’s way of telling us that the only way the corrupt system could be taken down is through our future generations?
Overall, this baffling and intriguing movie has one clear message, that there is not really a solution for this injustice prevailing in our society. Which is why we never really got to see if the girl ascended. She could have died on the way or maybe the authorities didn’t really care that a child was also exposed to the horrors of the hole. If a solution was that easy, wouldn’t it have already put in place? The movie leaves us in discomfort not only with its explicit content but also with its ideology.
The movie’s first few minutes seem bland and humorous but then everything happens at once. We see very graphically the horrors of the hole and the shock meter just skyrockets. The actors play their roles with such adroitness that their raw emotions transcend beyond the screens. The pacing of the movie is also perfect as it gradually shows each of the horrors which are concealed in the prison and how our perspectives keep changing with the scenes. The climax of ‘The Platform’ is ambivalent to the point that it leaves you with many questions but no clear answers.
This is one of the movies which needs to be watched by everyone as it shows what our future would uphold if our current social situation still carries on like this. If you’re looking to watch something which will take things off your chest during this time of Covid-19 crises, then you better put off watching this movie for later as this movie overwhelms you with the feeling of hopelessness. Overall, I conclude by saying that the movie is a masterpiece and has the power to inspire us to have conversations and to maybe even change the world.