The Platform: A great film that spoon-feeds
The Platform or “El Hoyo” is a Spanish language Netflix original film released in 2019. The film is written by two screenwriters, namely David Desola and Pedro Rivero. Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia directs and Spanish actor Ivan Massague plays the lead character named Goreng.
The Platform is a movie taking place in some kind of dystopian future where people go into this place called “The Hole”. The Hole consists of many floors. Each floor having two occupants. People go into the Hole with the promise of some kind of reward, like a degree, medical operation, or sometimes even a lesser prison sentence.
The Hole consists of a platform of food that descends from the first level to last, offering only a limited amount of food. People who live on the first few floors get to eat to their heart’s content while those on the lower floors often starve to death or resort to cannibalism in order to survive. As all the food on the platform is over by the time it gets to their level.
Do you know how there are movies that have a deeper meaning than simply what they’re showing on screen? The kind where the story introduces complex themes in subtle ways that make you think about the philosophy of the movie and what it’s saying about the world.
The Platform is like that except instead of suggesting or hinting at deeper themes. It basically blasts the viewer with social commentary from start to finish. The whole movie makes political commentary or commentary about human behavior. And just puts it so front and center that it becomes literally impossible to miss. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s just a little too obvious that the movie is trying to preach about these important subjects. And it has a way of very clearly stating to the viewer what it’s trying to do and say.
Take Parasite as an example. That movie is also chock-full of social commentary and many opinions about other kinds of important issues that face society right now. But what Parasite does is intertwine and embed those messages into the story. So that the audience can think about them. And come to realize the true statements the movie is trying to make. And how the story at hand is a brilliant encapsulation for those views and opinions to be expressed.
The Platform just blares its social commentary straight at the audience. Like some speaker aimed at your face playing a song at full volume so that you know what it says.
I’d just like to reiterate, it’s not a bad movie. It just lacks any subtlety in what it sets out to achieve. The film is based on a very good and very unique idea. That makes for an effective and interesting framing device to explain the many issues the movie tries to showcase.
The script is very good in setting up the rules of this world and makes everything very clear for the audience to understand. This is perhaps a good thing as it leaves no room for interpretation and the only message you take from the film is the one they want you to.
The movie takes place in acts, and each of these acts does very well in progressing the story and also delivering their respective message. Subjects of classism, human selfishness, apathy, capitalism, etc. Are all covered in each of the acts, while this would be tough to do for other movies, The Platform handles switching between all of these issues with ease, taking the audience on somewhat of a journey through the writer’s minds and what they think of society.
At a run time of approximately ninety minutes or so, the movie is packed with a story and doesn’t drag at all. The pacing is very fast while also not trading off the quality of the story being told. This is one of the things that makes watching this movie a highly entertaining experience. As time flies and one wouldn’t even think that an hour. And a half has gone by when they reach the end.
Another thing that this movie absolutely excels at is character development. The protagonist, Goreng is taken through such a long journey in such a short amount of time while still making his transformation seem completely natural.
What is also interesting about the protagonist is that he is made to be somewhat of an audience surrogate character at the beginning of the movie. Making the audience members wonder what they would do if placed in a similar situation. This establishes a connection between the movie and the viewer very early on. And helps hold interest and investment in the events of the story.
As mentioned before, the movie clearly tries to pull up a mirror to society and showcase different issues people face. But the film also falls a little bit apart right towards the end and doesn’t quite bring it home with the last few scenes. It’s as if they just told us all these things about human nature and politics. But then just conclude the movie with some extremely vague sentiment. That doesn’t quite give the audience anything to do with that information they’ve spent an hour and a half taking in.
All in all, The Platform is a highly entertaining film. With a short run time that will make it worth the watch to everyone that seems to even have a mild interest in it.
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