I don’t mind a blunt film here and there. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a mind-bending puzzle like the rest of you, but once in a while something doesn’t need to be snuck into a layered affair. Sometimes it just needs to be stated. The thing is, being blunt about something you’re angry about requires direct speech, not deviating from your stance, no deflection, and you can’t flinch. Last year, way back when we could leave our houses without fear of it killing Grandma-ma, a film titled The Platform (dir. Galder Gaztelu-Urritia) premiered at TIFF and was immediately picked up by Netflix. I heard good buzz, filed it away for later reference, and promptly forgot about it. When it popped back up on the streaming site I still didn’t pay attention to it, but a friend pushed me for an opinion. I put it off further and finally got around to it when shut in, options lacking.
The Platform doesn’t flinch.
This isn’t a perfect movie, but it’s a fun one. So there’s this tower, referred to by the outsiders and inhabitants as “The Hole” while the administrators call it something nitpicky and silly. It’s tall as hell, with a series of small levels that have a large rectangular hole in the center. There are two people on each level, and that’s all you get for company. Once per day the platform comes down, laden with food cooked to perfection by a team of chefs on the top level. The lower you are, the less likely you’ll get any food. Everyone eats as much as they can, but if you try to save the food on your level the room will grow fatally hot or cold. It’s really shitty, with people on the higher levels eating all they can and then even going so far as to piss or shit below them to ruin what little remains for those below. People at the bottom? They’re eating each other to survive. The big catch? One month you might be on top, eating your fill, they gas you and move everyone to different levels at the turn of the month and you might wind up on the bottom.
Into this mess drops Goreng (Ivan Massague), a quiet man that serves as our entrance into the world. He’s paired with Trimagasi (Zorion Eguileor), a man that’s been there serving out a sentence for manslaughter. Goreng is one of the poor fools that chose to be there, volunteering in exchange for his diploma. They’re on level 48 to start, but that just establishes tone. Goreng also meets Imoguiri (Antonia San Juan) and Baharat (Emilio Buale Coka) during the course of events. Just thought you’d want to know.
Look, I can’t say much or it will spoil it for you. This thing is cruel, vicious, gross, blunt, and at times even very human during the course of its ridiculousness. There’s no shortage of blatant rage at a system designed to get people to eat one another, but that doesn’t mean messages are more important than delivery. Our real star here is Zorion Eguileor, a charming and delightful presence that somehow reminds me of Hannibal Lector. You know, if Lector pissed over the side of a hole in the floor and came off as less than classy. The performance is mean, nasty, and sometimes even quite loving despite the context of horror around it all. It’s kind of…cuddly?
If you’re not sold by now just…it’s short, okay? It’s an 80 minute movie, so take less than an hour and a half out of your day and give this a shot. Delightfully wicked, soberingly blunt, and fearless in its execution, The Platform is the kind of movie these streaming services were DESIGNED for.
The Platform is currently streaming on Netflix.