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The Platform Review: This Grim Film Is A Savage Punch In The Guts

The Platform Review: A promotional poster of the movie. (courtesy alexandramasangkay )

Cast: Ivan Massagué, Alexandra Masangkay, Antonia San Juan, Zorion Eguileor

Director: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia

Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)

At as soon as harrowing and sobering, The Platform, Spanish director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s stylized debut characteristic, is a spot-on and well timed cautionary story that factors to the poisonous repercussions of dwelling in a world overrun by selfishness, greed and appalling inequities.

A bleak penitentiary the place pure gentle and recent air haven’t any approach of sneaking in symbolizes our fraught occasions wherein the socially and economically privileged, pushed by barefaced covetousness, haven’t any qualms in working the already downtrodden additional into the bottom. The nightmarish analogies that the movie attracts could appear reasonably apparent, contemplating the place the human race is at this level in its historical past, however The Platform nonetheless manages to startle us with its stark, brutal revelations of the noxious.

A layered screenplay (by David Desolo and Pedro Rivero), a clutch of highly effective performances (with lead actor Ivan Massague main the way in which with a brilliantly nuanced flip) and terrific manufacturing design (undoubtedly the movie’s firmest asset) mix to make the action-packed horror parable, now streaming on Netflix, a hypnotic affair.

The Platform blends heightened realism with wickedly and weirdly satirical vigour to deliver its viewers nose to nose with the pettiness of our souls – and the misfortunes which might be heaped upon those that need to make do with crumbs thrown at them by the choose few who’ve entry to the levers of energy. In the movie’s rooted-in-reality speculative fiction, meals is the foreign money that separates the haves from the have-nots.

The Platform is about in a stifling concrete barrel-like jail tower referred to as “the hole”, the place the degrees are stacked one upon one other with the center being hollowed out to supply a passage for a big rectangular platform that’s used to relay meals from the topmost stage – numbered 1 – all the way in which right down to the bottom.

Each stage of this pit is supposed for 2 inmates. The ones on the high are clearly the primary to obtain the huge meals platter and so they seize every part they will from the unfold that halts at every stage for only some minutes. Those languishing within the decrease depths need to survive on the leftovers, if there are any.

The movie opens in a brightly lit kitchen the place dishes are whipped by liveried cooks. It is from right here that the culinary smorgasbord begins its descent, turning right into a nauseating mess by the point it will get to the center ranges. That is the place – Level 48, to be exact – we first meet Gerong (Massague), who’s on this hellish jail with a guide for firm.

His cellmate is a a lot older man, Trimagasi (Zorion Eguileor), who has chosen the opening over a psychiatric facility after a tv he hurled out the window killed an “illegal immigrant on a bicycle”. Illegal and an immigrant – what enterprise did he need to be beneath his window, the person asks dismissively.

Hunger, Trimagasi says when the 2 males have plummeted to Level 171 a month later, “unleashes the mad man in us… it is better to eat than be eaten”. It takes Goreng some time to determine the import of that ominous assertion. By the time he does, a number of blood, together with his personal, is shed.

Earlier, Gerong lets on that he has chosen a six-month time period on this gray cell “to quit smoking and read Don Quixote”. But there’s a larger reward awaiting him on the finish of the ordeal – an “accredited diploma” that would assist him safe the type of freedom he has by no means had on this planet exterior.

A prisoner stays on one stage for less than a month and wakes up on one other stage – whether or not it’s increased or decrease is sheer potluck – initially of the subsequent. So, somebody on one of many high ranges might wind up on Level 140 with out having any say within the shift. The switch occurs after anesthetic gasoline renders an inmate unconscious.

But captivity – and Trimagasi’s provocations – push him right into a plan of action that he hopes will break the cycle of deprivation, starvation, homicide and cannibalism. His struggles don’t stop when Imoguiri (Antonia San Juan), the girl who interviewed him earlier than he was admitted into this “pigsty”, turns into his cellmate on Level 33, a dachshund in tow. “More sausage than dog,” Goreng quips in regards to the pooch.

The first spoken line that we hear in The Platform spells out doesn’t totally put together us for the world that we’re about to enter: there are three sorts of individuals on this planet, these on the high, these on the backside, and people who fall, a voice on the soundtrack intones. As we start to know and encounter much more over the movie’s 90-odd minutes, it turns into clear that the “administration” of this “Vertical Self-Management Centre” is searching for “spontaneous solidarity” among the many prisoners. Doesn’t that sound eerily acquainted?

Goreng dares to swim in opposition to the tide. “Change can never be spontaneous,” he says earlier than he groups up with a black man, Baharat (Emilio Buale Coka), who turns into a sufferer of an obnoxiously racial act when he seeks a leg-up from Level 6 to five. Their mission is to guard a panna cotta from being devoured on its approach from the highest to the bottom stage. It is an act of revolt fraught with threat however Goreng is incensed sufficient to do one thing about altering the way in which the equipment works out right here.

The tower isn’t seen from the skin. Even from inside, one can’t see the entire that “the hole” represents. This is a world the place every particular person is trapped in a cocoon and survival hinges on how low and determined one can turn out to be on this ugly battle to remain afloat – and alive.

Among the principal characters is an Asian girl, Miharu (Alexandra Masangkay), who leaps from stage to stage in search of a kid – who may really be non-existent. This is the one quest in The Platform – aside from Goreng and Baharat’s daring plunge of religion – that has a hoop of positivity about. But is it attainable in any respect to remain uncorrupted in an setting that breeds distrust?

Yes and no: the reply that The Platform comes up with within the climax is ambivalent. Just as nicely. The upheavals that the movie depicts are too extreme for anyone, even Goreng, to rise above with out being tainted – and tamed into submission.

The Platform is a savage punch within the guts that approximates what a quickly degrading world has been shelling out to us recently. In the downtime inflicted upon us by the Covid-19 outbreak, this grim movie could not fill us with hope, but it surely positively will arm us with a significant postulation as we ponder over what the longer term holds for mankind.


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