‘Platform’ movie review: A stomach-churning satire on the dark side of capitalism
Netflix’s latest Spanish production might be gory and grotesque at its best, but its metaphorical portrayal of the negative side of capitalism is right on point
Would you ever imagine that food could be made to look ugly and gory? We don’t mean just visually ugly, but psychologically disturbing - so much so that you might not want to look at food in the same way ever again! Netflix’s ‘The Platform’ is such a work of fiction. Titled ‘El Hoyo’ in Spanish, Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia has managed to drive it right into your head or your heart even.
This two hour long, dark fiction thriller walks on a horrifying premise, which goes on to impact you for a long time to come.
It’s raw, in every sense of the word, and packs terror in every frame. The heavily layered plotline packs fear, pity, grossness, and unease, and yet, you cannot stop watching all the way until the end. That’s the beauty of good filmmaking - no matter how uncomfortable it makes you feel, it keeps the intrigue running high.
For context, ‘The Platform’ explores a bunch of inmates, in a fictional timeline, where they are kept in a vertical cell, and forced to feed on scraps from the food consumed at the levels above.
On the outside, the movie is gory and cringe-worthy for sure. But once you start reading between the lines, and look beyond the visuals, there is an underlying grim satire all along. It’s disturbing, yes, but it’s as real as it can get. Consider the prison to be the socioeconomic ladder as it is today, a prison in its own right, where the vertical order of capitalism makes the ones below suffer the aftereffects of the ones at the top. As socialist cliched as it may sound, the perpetual oppressive tendency of the higher ranks on the lower ones comes out loud and clear through the allegory of the leftovers.
But what’s ironical here is that the smorgasbord of leftovers is not forced on anyone. Depending on which level the prisoner is at, they get their share of the good, bad, or the ugly. If you happen to be at the top, you get to feast on fancy things. And the lower you go, your share starts to get smaller and smaller. By the time it hits the last level, you may not have anything left to feed on but find alternative sources, which could be anything, even humans.
‘The Platform’ is anything but subtle. And it befits the current scenarios of the global society. From economic instability, to social oppression, relentless fights for right, and being left with scraps to deal with by the time it hits the bottom-most rung, the issues of the world today all come out through the conditions of the prisoners.
You might want to call the plot pro-communist, as it explores the divide of the two classes – the proletariat, who must struggle to survive and work hard to drive the society’s machine and who mostly end up with effects of the upper levels (just like the prisoners in the movie).
And the other class being the bourgeoisie capitalist class, who enjoy the profits of production, devouring the smorgasbord at the top.
This is further backed by our protagonist, who suggests balancing out the food and ensuring that everyone gets a share (classic socialism). Unfortunately, his older cellmate is content with being at the bottom. Now, isn’t this a classic syndrome of what we experience as a society in general.
Without getting too deep into the political angle of the story, all we can say is that the writers have hit the nail hard and raised a topic of conversation. Masterfully written, using a theatrical narrative, blending all the right ingredients of good filmmaking, ‘The Platform’ is an impactful piece of art (although very twisted and chaotic) and merits a watch, perhaps not on an empty stomach!
‘The Platform’/ ‘El Hoyo’ is currently streaming on Netflix.