The whole idea of the film "The Platform" is disturbing. In these days of swashbucklers and pot-boilers, the Spanish language film, originally titled "El Hoyo", makes the audience uncomfortable, disturbed, petrified, and, at the end, makes them think.
The Platform's opening scene shows the film's main protagonist Goreng, who wakes up in a large featureless concrete room with minimal facilities. After looking around for a few seconds, he finds that he has a roommate.
Watch the trailer of "Platform" here
His cellmate, an old man named Trimagasi, explains the rules of the room. Once every day, a floating platform full of food descends from the top floor, stopping for a few minutes on each level so the inmates can eat. The platform is not refilled as it descends. Goreng and Trimagasi, on level 48, have to scavenge from leftovers after 47 pairs of prisoners above them devoured the food. After the inmates on level 48 get their brief chance at the food, the platform will descend with more leftovers to cell 49 below them.
The room number changes every month. The inmates either get promoted to a higher floor or get demoted to a lower one. Getting promoted means more food with less leftovers and getting demoted means less food with more leftovers.
The protagonist character of Goreng, a man in his mid-30s who volunteered to spend six months in the vertical "self-management" centre, is played by Spanish actor Iván Massagué. His portrayal of Goreng is what holds the film together as the viewers take a bumpy ride of emotions as the film progresses. It wrecks the nerves of the viewers as they see Goreng grow from being a naïve man to a survivor of monstrosity.
Miharu, played by Alexandra Masangkay, is one of the film's female leads. Her character is very intriguing as things start to change whenever she appears on the screen. Miharu lost her child in the seemingly bottomless pit and she relentlessly rebels against the centre's rules in search of the child.
The most riveting character of the film is Goreng's cellmate Trimagasi, played by the veteran actor Zorion Eguileor. His portrayal of the character will surely haunt the viewers for days. His ability to maintain composure amidst the horror will make anyone watching uncomfortable.
The film's best aspect has to be its script. Written by David Desola and Pedro Rivero, the story is multi-layered and highly metaphorical. The director, Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia does justice to the script by setting the film in a simple premise, while keeping the essence of psychological-horror intact with the physical gore and moral demands.
Visually, the film is very grinding and thematically, it may remind you of Vincenzo Natali's "Cube" from 1997 or Bong Joon-Ho's "Snowpiercer" from 2013. The Platform can comfortably take its place among the best dystopian or speculative fiction films. Overall, the film deserves a 7.5 out of 10.
The Platform premiered in the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) last year on September 6, winning a people's choice award in the Midnight Madness category. This year, it was released on Netflix on March 20. It is a must-watch movie for film buffs and definitely not suitable for underage viewers for its gruesomeness and gore.