Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s horror thriller, “The Platform”, has been a regular part of Netflix’s daily Top 10 since its release on the streaming service last Friday, and no wonder: with its generous cannibalism aids , suicide, starvation, blood, intestines and excrement, how could it not please the crowd? A macabre mixture of midnight film and social commentary, the image is too open but undeniably effective, offering genre twists and broad messages in equal measure.
The script by David Desola and Pedro Rivero focuses on a brutal experience of social conditioning and brutal Darwinism. In a large vertical prison, each floor consists of a single small room inhabited by two cell mates. In the middle of each room, in the center of the building, is a giant hole where a descending meal platform – a kind of mass dumbwaiter – stops once a day, for the shortest interval. He was loaded with food and drink at the start of his descent, and “if everyone ate only what they needed,” says an administrator, “the food would reach the lowest levels.” But it’s a 200-story prison, so if the ones on the upper floors stuff their faces (and they all do) things can get more than hopeless underneath.
Goreng (Ivan Massagué), not a prisoner but a volunteer, entered this infernal landscape, which engaged for six months as a guinea pig in exchange for an accredited diploma. But he is horrified by the notion of platform and the violence it precipitates; “It is fairer to ration food,” he reasoned with his roaring cellmate, “Are you a communist?”
As the political allegories progress, “The Platform” is somewhere between “Animal Farm” and a late episode of “South Park” on the subtlety scale. However, the moment and the circumstances have made his frankness, the pure evidence of his metaphors and his messages, his greatest strength. When Netflix acquired the image at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall and set its streaming date in the spring, they couldn’t imagine the kind of cultural nihilism it could tap into. But it is; it’s a dark and dark nightmare, where the only way out is through the conscious decision to help, value and share with others. If there has ever been a film of our time, that’s it.
Unclassified. In Spanish, with subtitles. Duration: 1 hour 34 minutes.