In a prison where inmates on high floors eat better than those below, who get the scant scraps, one man tries to effect change so everyone gets enough.
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I watched “The Platform” when it was first added to Netflix last month and decided to review it because a) it’s stuck with me and b) it feels strangely appropriate given the current circumstances.
The Spanish film is set in a vertical prison made up of 150 levels with a hole right down the middle. Each level has 2 prisoners and every day a platform filled with luscious food and drink descends from level 0 and stops for 2 minutes on each floor. In theory, there’s enough food for everyone in the prison… But humans being human are all too often greedy and take way more than they need leaving those in the lower levels starving and desperate.
Visually “The Platform” is very grey and dreary – it’s a prison after all – but the storytelling and the film certainly don’t feel dreary or dull. The food looks luscious (to begin with) and the camera angles and relatively fast cuts to show the passage of time certainly keep the film looking interesting.
The main protagonist of the film is Goreng (Iván Massagué) who is paired up in his cell with Trimagasi (Zorion Eguileor). Trimagasi, it transpires, has been in the prison for quite some time so acts as a guide for Goreng, explaining to him how the food platform works and that people in lower levels are desperate to get to the higher levels. We also find out that once a month everyone gets knocked out and wakes up on a new level. We also learn just how hungry Trimagasi can get and what measures he’ll take to feed his hunger.
There were many parts of “The Platform” that reminded me of “Cube” – the overall mystery about the building, the “claustrophobic” and identical layout of each floor, the dark side of people that the circumstances bring out. But, equally, it was a very different film – maybe not quite as iconic as the former, but certainly a very memorable film.
As the story progresses we learn more about Goreng, the prison and the many other secrets it holds as well as why the people are inside. We meet a lady who says she’s looking for her daughter, even though children aren’t allowed in the prison, and we see how Goreng wishes that people would be more thoughtful for the other levels – only taking what they need.
“The Platform” is, in its most basic form, a film about socialism, capitalism and greed. If those in the higher levels only take what they need, then those in the lower levels maybe wouldn’t be starving. Because then, if the prisoners in the lower level have been fed, they’ll be more likely to reciprocate and only take what they need. But, let’s be honest, can one person really start that change? However, I’m not even sure that’s the main message of the film – I’m quite into the idea of socialism so perhaps that’s just an idea I projected onto “The Platform” myself.
Overall, I really enjoyed this film. It’s dark, it’s gruesome at times, it’s thought-provoking (without being too in your face) and has, in my opinion, a clever ending – but one that’s open to your own interpretation. That may annoy some of you, but it also makes it something you want to talk about with your friends.
Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!