If you ever needed a satirical metaphor about the world and how we all treat each other then look no further than Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s The Platform (aka El Hoyo). As the film begins we a puzzled and dazed Goreng (Ivan Massague) as he awakens in a concrete cell in a vertical prison knwon as The Pit. His cell mate is an older man named Trimagasi (Zorion Eguileoras). There is a hole in the ground above them, from which a banquet table of food is lowered once a day on a platform, before quickly making its way down to the levels below. In order to survive, Goreng and Trimagasi have to gorge on the leftovers from those above them. They only get to eat what the people above them left. So the lower level you are the less food you are going to get.
The film remains eerily claustrophobic in nature as the impact eating from the platform takes its toll on the inmates. Metaphors of income disparity, sharing resources, trickle down economics, social climbing (literally) and social responsibility come thick and fast and bounce of the cell walls especially when Goreng realises that he’s not confined to one level as every 30 days he is assigned a new random level in The Pit. Thus reassigning his place in the food chain.
Violent when necessary, The Platform does not shy away from what might happen to the human psyche if placed in these conditions including scenes of rampant violence, madness, cannibalism, and various types of degradation. Whilst not traditionally “horror” in nature this scens definatley disturb.
As the film develops we learn via flashback that Goreng has voluntarily accepted a stint in The Pit in exchange for a degree upon his release in comparison to other prisoners who seem to have a wide variety of crimes to their names. Perhaps a comment on how educational systems treat their learners or value their degrees?
Goreng and the other characters of The Platform debate what responsibility they have to all of those below them and this question spills out the screen to the viewer. Whilst many (judging by reviews and comments) seem to have missed the main social theme of the movie I feel Gaztelu-Urrutia makes a point that is very valid especially in these times of lock down.
Verdict: 7/10. Whilst the ending is meant to evoke hope to the prisoners of The Pit it remains the weakest part of the movie and leaves you feeling that more could have been done with it, but, perhaps that was the point all along.