The Platform (aka El Hoyo) is an interesting horror film that I thought would be more like Cube, however, it contained a more direct social commentary than I was expecting. However, I was waiting for the hammer to drop and it never did.
The basic summary of The Platform is that there is a vertical prison in which a platform of food goes through all the levels with each cell containing two prisoners have a limited time to eat before it moves on. The food does not get added to, but people have to eat any leftovers from previous floors if there are any. They cannot hoard any items, as there are fatal consequences for those in the cells. Every 30 days, the inmates are switched to different floors, with the higher levels being the most desired. This is a prison of sorts, but some are volunteers and some are criminals in this hellish hole. The volunteers enter with the promise of more social status when they leave after an undetermined amount of time.
As you can guess, people are very selfish, as the prisoners are moved to a different floor each month, so they never know what share they will get. This is a brutal film that does highlight how selfish people can be. But what exactly would you expect in a prison? This is not a revolutionary thought at all. Obviously, this leads to a lot of conflict and survival techniques that can make this a hard film to watch.
Our protagonist Goreng is in the prison without knowing anything about it, so he is shocked by it all. The main parts of the film are the conversations he has with other prison inmates. They are compelling as it shows us different mindsets. There are those who believe in this Administration, the naive, the idealists and those who see it for The Platform truly is.
However, The Platform is not for the faint of heart. There is quite a bit of gore, but it is never there for the sake of it, I would argue. It is never glorified but portrayed through the eyes of Goreng who is aghast at it all. Even though he soon learns, violence might be his only way to survive.
Goreng is us, in that he changes throughout the film from aghast to one of them, then trying to make a change. It is interesting to see how events and conversations shape him and his actions. And with a limited amount of actors and space, The Platform will keep you on the edge of the seat. The small cells in each room with the red lighting at sleeping times, adds to the feel of the isolation of this prison. You will forget that there is even a world outside this, and your only focus is in that room.
However, where The Platform lacks, I would have to say is the ending. Goreng and another prison mate go on a quest to prove that humanity is not as selfish as “The Administration” who runs the prison thinks they are. But all they do show is a lie, not a change. And that is where the disappointment lies.
There is a big build-up to the ending, however, the climax of The Platform falls flat. The social commentary never really has any bite to its bark. However, I believe this film is worth a watch, it is a very good dystopian thriller despite the ending. If you liked the Cube, you will definitely be interested in this.
The Platform is available to stream on Netflix.