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The Platform: Starving people of their humanity

One of the characters, Miharu, riding the platform. From IMDB, The Platform Photo Gallery.

Review by Alex Curthew-Sanders

A movie that chooses to present social commentary in a hauntingly dystopian yet realistic manner.

With a film being described as a sci-fi horror, you’d probably expect some kind of xenomorph to be popping out of people’s chests or some other kind of tale about eldritch horrors. On the contrary, this movie chooses its monsters not of the alien kind, but of the humankind.

You see, The Platform’s premise is very simple. There is a large, vertical tower known as the Platform. The Platform’s interior is comprised of prison like blocks each with a square hole in the centre that allows the platform itself to move through. Each block contains two people who are switched to a different floor every 30 days.

The catch? Residents are only fed through food that is supplied by the platform. The platform begins at floor 0, makes its way down through each floor before returning to floor 0 at the end of the day. Theoretically, there is enough food for every resident if they ration it out accordingly, but of course this is a horror film but more importantly, this is an extended metaphor that is at the centre of the film’s conflict.

Now, I won’t spoil any of the story; I highly recommend people watch it themselves and to draw their own conclusions.

Two of the characters riding the platform. From IMDB, The Platform Photo Gallery.

The most interesting part of the movie for me is the idea of the platform itself. It is clear that the platform as a construct represents the spoils of life. What isn’t clear is what those spoils are. In the case of the movie it’s food but really anything you value can be placed there instead.

Building upon this idea, each couple is assigned a floor randomly every 30 days. This could perhaps be reflective of how important random chance, or perhaps luck, is to success in the modern world. Sometimes working hard on its own just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes you just need to be in the right place at the right time or shake hands with the right people. By having luck in your favour, you in turn get to enjoy more of the spoils than the people who didn’t. In the movie, people are selfish and borderline feral. They take as much as they can without giving a glance of a thought about the people below them, almost as if they don’t even regard the people below them as people.

The Platform appears to strip the humanity from humans, which in turn could represent the growing amount of workers who face abuse; are otherwise scoffed at due to holding a lower position in the invisible societal hierarchy or are just plain fed up.

In the movie, the people at floor 0, the cooks, are shown to be perfectionists. Any amount of impurity is swiftly dealt with and this could be trying to reflect the nature of the absolute elite. Who treat any kind of mistake as almost life threatening but more importantly turn a blind eye to those less fortunate than themselves. Whether that is wilful ignorance or not is up for debate.

Regardless of what you take out from the movie; however, if you are a horror fan, I’m sure you’ll find some entertainment value out of it. There are many extremely clever shots and the amount of change that the main character goes through is staggering. And no, I didn’t get paid to say that.

The Platform is a Spanish production directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia currently available on Netflix.

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