With the current situation going on in our world I have been left with a hefty amount of free time. Between small projects here and there I have become a very avid watcher of Netflix. I recently watched a very enticing movie that seemed to leave an impression on me. This was not due to its graphic nature but by the message, it was intending to share with its audience.
The platform is a Spanish movie directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutiana and starring Ivan Massagué, as our main protagonist. The premise of the movie is essential that there is a prison. However, this is not a conventional prison-like we have in our modern society. Instead, it is a vertical prison consisting of various floors. Each floor has two of the prisoners that must live together with their floor being switched once a month. This may seem quite normal however it is far from that. The real symbolism of the movie is the way the prisoners are fed. A platform is lowered every day to stop at each floor for an allotted time to eat. It begins at the top and goes to the bottom the problem is however that there is only a certain amount of food to be shared among hundreds of levels. This fuels the entire symbolism of the movie and holds a great message. Throughout the movie, we follow the experiences of our main character, Goreng, who has willingly entered the facility to earn his diploma. throughout his sentence, we see him witness and participate in gruesome acts of violence due to his immense hunger and desperation. Although we are seeing all of his heinous acts we as an audience can’t help but feel a sense of sadness throughout the movie for this man as he slowly loses who he once was. Although he commits some irremediable acts he also demonstrates a message at the end of the movie to the creators of this prison that seem to make us feel as though he found himself again.
So what does this all mean? As I mentioned earlier this movie all a message and is full of symbolism. The levels are used to symbolize classes of people throughout our society. The top is the wealthy and the bottom being the poor and the food is used to represent our personal needs and how if we all only took what we needed there would be enough for everyone. This brings to what the prisoners truly represent and that would be greed. The top levels take more than they need and that means that as the platform lowers there is not enough food to sustain the entire prison until it reaches a point of there being none left. This leads the poor souls on the lower level hungry and drives them to commit the heinous acts out of fear and desperation. It makes us as audience question how this is supposed to help these convicts to understand what they have done is wrong, and makes us face the reality that they really are just being tormented instead of helped. All they are being instilled with is a sense of greed and personal survival which is also a reflection of our current prison system and its lack of rehabilitation techniques. However, this is just a sub-message. The main metaphor represents capitalism. It represents this by making the higher levels have not only an advantage but also by making them take more than there share and leaving the lower levels with nothing when in reality there is more than enough for everyone. Overall this movie is an allegory for capitalism in our society and uses the medium of film and physiological disturbance to narrate this message.
As I had previously mentioned this is a Spanish film therefore it is in subtitles all throughout the movie. You would think that this would somewhat take away from the overall message, however it does the exact opposite. Personally, I feel as though the subtitles connect us. How you may ask? Well, when you look at it as a social problem you can see that not only we experience the hardships of capitalism but so does Spain, Portugal and every other nation thus connecting us all as a world through these issues. I also do have a bit of personal bias because I really enjoy Spain’s more psychologically-based movies and seem to gravitate towards them.
So what about the ending? I am not going to tell you the ending as I feel it takes away from the overall experience if you know how it plays out. I think that the ending is much more impactful when experienced first hand and I would fully recommend this film. Although there is a lot of gorey and disturbing scenes I think that the movie did a good job of incorporating them for storytelling value rather than pure shock value. Overall I feel that this movie did a very good job of subtly portraying a social and economic issue in our modern society all while providing an entertaining film with some very talented actors.