The Platform (2020)
Reader Rating (Rate Here): [Total: 2 Average: 4/5]
Directed By: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia
Cast: Iván Massagué, Zorion Eguileor, Antonia San Juan, Emilio Buale Coka, Alexandra Masangkay
Language: Spanish, English
The Platform is a Spanish science fiction thriller movie, directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia. First time director Gaztelu-Urrutia takes a shot at the unforgiving nature of the capitalist society through this movie. The movie premiered in 2019 Toronto International Film Festival where it won the main award, an English dubbed version of it is streaming on Netflix.
Inmates are held in a prison tower where everyday, a platform of sumptuous feast is presented. The platform remains there for sometime, inmates can eat whatever they want and then the platform moves down to the next lower level and so on. Every level has two inmates and they can eat whatever is on the platform but cannot keep any food with them to eat later. If they hoard, the room raises its temperature or cools down abnormally to kill the inmates of that level. The level keeps changing every month- so the ones at the lowest level could be on the topmost the next month. The inmates eat a lot more than is required at every level, so the food on the platform doesn’t reach people beyond a certain level. The people at that level then resort to cannibalism making it literally a dog eat dog world.
Goreng (Iván Massagué) is the main protagonist who wakes up at level 48 with Trimagasi (Zorion Eguileor). Goreng has voluntarily come to this prison/experiment for the purpose of writing a book. Every inmate is allowed an object they can carry, some carry a rope, some a knife, Goreng carries a copy of Don Quixote. The movie doesn’t explain the persona of its characters but that can be guessed by the objects they carry. Goreng for me is the man who has a heart and believes in equal rights irrespective of class. He has a sense of compassion and justice, even after suffering terribly.
Trimagasi is his first cellmate and a veteran in surviving the prison and also becomes his means of survival. Baharat (Emilio Buale Coka) carries a rope highlighting his willingness to climb up the ladder and not just be where the society wants him to be. Whether these two are able to make any difference to the system forms the rest of the story.
The Platform is a Prisoners Dilemma, where everyone acts for himself which doesn’t lead to optimal outcome. The optimal outcome here being that everyone gets to eat and not starve to death. People complain about the persons above them leaving them nothing but when they come on top they too resort to the same. Never taking the onus on themselves but always blaming someone else (in this case people above them) for all the misery. People hoard because of the uncertainty, the changing levels means they may be feasting one month while starving next. Ironically the most stark aspect of the movie is that whenever the lower level people reach a better level instead of being sympathetic to the low-dwellers they are making up for the lost time.
The Prison can be construed as the capitalist society with the rich taking all and the poor getting only scraps. The rich don’t need to hoard but they do because they can. The whole thing is an experiment that the food sent below will never be enough because of the selfish nature of the humans. The only way to defeat the experiment is everyone rationing their bit and sending substantial amount below. And when that doesn’t work, ironically, the leader takes it upon himself to maintain equal rights through fear.
I loved the ending of the movie where the message is delivered to the people above. It is possible to make the resources reach the lowest level by the hook or crook. There is hope and not everyone loses their humanity during uncertain times and there are still people who will do the right thing. The Platform is an apt movie to watch in today’s time when the world is grappling with the Corona Virus. There is panic because of the social isolation and this has lead to people hoarding supplies and groceries. Watch it and please share your rating above.
Netflix Link : The Platform
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