The Platform, a 2019 Spanish social science fiction-horror film, is not for the faint-hearted. Directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia and penned by David Desola and Pedro Rivero, the movie delves deep into human nature and society's inherent inequalities. It uniquely presents its audience with a dark, allegorical tale that speaks volumes about our contemporary world. Here's a more in-depth look at this haunting yet illuminating film.
The Platform is set in a dystopian future inside a vertical prison called the "Vertical Self-Management Center." In this ominous establishment, inmates are housed in a vertical tower with a rectangular hole in the center of each floor.
Every day, a platform loaded with sumptuous dishes descends from the top floor, stopping briefly on each level. Those on the upper floors feast to their heart's content, while those below are left with diminishing quantities of food.
The scenario is symbolic, portraying the stark disparity between different strata of society and how resources are often concentrated amongst the privileged, leaving crumbs for those below.
The narrative revolves around Goreng, who wakes up in this prison with an old man named Trimagasi. As the days pass, Goreng realizes the horrors of his surroundings: those on the lower levels resort to extreme measures, including cannibalism, to satiate their hunger.
The film takes viewers on a tumultuous ride as Goreng moves between levels each month, experiencing both the luxury of abundance and the despair of starvation. With each shift, he grapples with moral dilemmas, confronting the dark facets of human nature and the lengths one might go to for survival. The plot intricately weaves themes of social inequality, human cruelty, and the essence of sacrifice.
The cast of The Platform delivers an undeniably impactful performance, bringing life to the film's harrowing narrative. Ivan Massagué shines in the lead role of Goreng, skillfully showcasing a character arc that moves from naivety to disillusionment, and ultimately to defiance.
Zorion Eguileor, as Trimagasi, presents a complex portrayal of a man molded by the brutal system, offering both moments of humor and terror. The supporting cast, including Antonia San Juan as Imoguiri and Emilio Buale as Baharat, further accentuates the film's themes and tension.
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The production of The Platform is noteworthy for its meticulous design and attention to detail. The vast, cold, and sterile nature of the prison is brought to life through impressive set designs that evoke both claustrophobia and the void-like vastness of the facility.
The challenge of depicting different levels of the tower, each with its distinct atmosphere depending on its position, was expertly managed. Scenes featuring the descending platform were particularly harrowing, with the exquisite food presentation at stark contrast with the surrounding brutality.
Director Gaztelu-Urrutia employs a range of cinematic techniques, from wide-angle shots that capture the prison's vastness to close-ups that reveal the raw emotions of its inhabitants.
Upon its release, The Platform was met with widespread acclaim, especially for its bold narrative and incisive social commentary. Critics lauded the film's audacity in delving deep into societal issues that are often glossed over in cinema.
The film's graphic portrayal of cannibalism and other violent acts, however, led to polarized views, with some audiences finding it hard to stomach the visceral nature of the narrative.
It premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, where it won the People's Choice Award for Midnight Madness. The movie's success led to its acquisition by Netflix, making it available to a global audience. On the platform, it continued to gain momentum, fostering discussions about societal disparities and the essence of humanity.