The Platform (2019)
Written By: Karla Cortes
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia
Producer: Basque Films
Screenwriter: David Desola Pedro Rivero
Music: Aranzazu Calleja
Date Released: September 6, 2019
Iván Massagué as Goreng
Zorion Eguileor as Trimagasi
Antonia San Juan as Imoguiri
Emilio Buale Coka as Baharat
Alexandra Masangkay as Miharu
Eric L. Goode as Sr. Brambang
Rating = 3/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Goreng’s will to survive is put to the test when he voluntarily puts himself in a tower-style Verticle Self-Management Center where the system is bound to cause chaos. Each “cell” is a floor of the management center consisting of a gaping square opening which lets a rectangular platform filled with food land on each floor. The two inmates per cell have a total of 2 minutes to scarf down the food on the platform before it hovers down for those on the next floor and so on. Each month, the two inmates are transferred to a different level of the facility at random. Meaning that those on the top floors get fed while leaving almost nothing for those on the lower floors which, essentially, leaves them to starve and perform horrific acts out of survival.
If there is such a thing as tasteful gore, then The Platform, originally known as El Hoyo, harbors it. At one point of the movie, the audience gets to see the disturbing scenes that inhibit each floor past a shocking number of floors. The slayed bodies and body parts strewn across each cell in that scene bring to light precisely what one would imagine happening when a person is put under those circumstances. Aside from that, The Platform shows acts of cannibalism, beatings, and throat-slits in small, easy-on-the-eye doses that leaves the audience shocked, but not entirely disgusted. Each gory scene dances gracefully with the plot in order to belittle itself in order to support and give depth to the plot and class metaphors.
The Grave Review
The purpose of The Platform (2019), originally known as El Hoyo, is to not only entertain viewers through its out-of-the-box plot, but to also make viewers take a second look at their government and the political system they live in. There are several metaphors for class warfare, but there are a few that really strike a chord in viewers.
The first metaphor the audience encounters is presented once the film’s plot uncovers the purpose of the platform and how those on the higher levels get to eat while those bekore are left with scraps or nothing. This metaphor shows how those with wealth in society hold a higher power than those below. That those within the higher class tend to overindulge in their luxury while leaving those pertaining to the lower class are left to scramble for goods in order to survive. Given that the film was released March 20th, The Platform shows a motif relevant to the world’s current state under the COVID-19 pandemic where those with wealth and access are over buying goods thus leaving shortages where the most vulnerable members of society are left with nothing.
The second metaphor shows greed through the animalistic acts that inmates take once the platform gets to their floor. The metaphor shows how everyone starts off in this world with good intentions but due to the situations that society and nature constantly put them in, mixed with the greed of others who have already been put in those situations, they end up becoming greedy themselves. Thus, creating a never-ending cycle of greed and mistrust in society under political/capitalistic hands. Some would say that this metaphor also stands for the communistic approach to politics.
The third metaphor is that of the character Trimagasi himself. He shows the true colors of certain wealthy members in our society. Trimagsi spits, breaks glass, and even urinates on the food as it is lowered onto the next floor in order to show his “status”. Trimagasi sets petty rules for Goreng in order to show that he stands his ground. He represents all those selfish and egoistic people pertaining to a higher social class who disrespect those “below” them in order to give meaning to their status and remain in the “elite”. Trimagasi embodies hatred internally towards himself and externally towards others through his power-driven actions.
The fourth metaphor is a two in one metaphor that involves Imoguiri. Imoguiri was one of the interviewers for the center who, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, joined the platform to help out of guilt. She represents those with higher incomes/statuses in our society realizing their privilege and trying to help those who have less. Imoguiri spends days trying to convince those below her that they must ration food but to no surprise, they ignore her and continue to over indulge. This represents how those pertaining to higher income classes in our society think that talking about the problem and expressing their condolences is useless without taking proper action to do something about it.
The fifth is represented by the bond between Goreng and his new cell mate, Baharat. Baharat brings a rope as his only item to have in the cell hoping that those above can pull him up and they can get out of the center. As the common theme in the film continues, no one is willing to help him. Goreng and Baharat decide to put their differences (race and background) aside to form a pact to defy the system and ration the food out to each level, even if it means putting their own lives at risk. This pact symbolizes how joining together and going against the corrupt system can result in a positive outcome.
The sixth and final notable metaphor of the platform is when Goreng and Baharat discover Miharu’s child. This action/scene is also a two-in-one metaphor in that it represents how information on people and certain cases can be completely misconstrued and twisted. How society, especially those with power, hear and spread misinformation on lower classes and the people pertaining to those classes. In putting the child onto the platform to later reach the top, The Platform uncovers another metaphor in that it is important to teach the children of this generation, and generations to come, that it is crucial to change and disrupt toxic patterns in society.
The Platform (2019) is a thrilling and thought-provoking film that is easy on the eyes while being enthralling. The plot is essentially a series of metaphors that are told in a way that is easily conveyed to all audiences above the age of 13. The ending, as mentioned by Gaztelu-Urrutia himself, was up for interpretation even though Gaztelu-Urrutia gave his own interpretation which was that the lower level didn’t exist, and Goreng died before he arrived. Although the metaphors and political commentary may be too obvious for the film’s own good, The Platform is a gateway for people to start taking note of the corrupt system that most countries abide by.
Given that this is Gaztelu-Urrutia’s first film, and that it is giving a positive voice for Spanish filmmakers, Grave Reviews gives The Platform (2019) aka El Hoyo three graves out of five graves.
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