The Platform (Netflix Movie Review)

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

PLOT: Convicts and volunteers alike find themselves trapped in a multi-level prison called The Pit, in which hundreds of people are meant to share the single spread of food lowered down on a platform.

REVIEW: Although he has credits on short films going back seventeen years, the Netflix release THE PLATFORM is the feature directorial debut of Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, and it's a debut that instantly marks Gaztelu-Urrutia as a filmmaker to keep a close eye on going forward. THE PLATFORM is a stylish, engaging film built on a fascinating concept crafted by screenwriters David Desola and Pedro Rivero.

The Spanish production stars Ivan Massagué as Goreng, a man who makes the terrible decision to voluntarily enter a place called The Pit for six months, at the end of which he'll be rewarded with an accredited diploma. He sees this as a simple way to earn the diploma while quitting cigarettes cold turkey and having a chance to read Don Quixote, but he has no idea exactly how The Pit operates. That becomes clear shortly after he wakes up on level 48 of this multi-level facility, accompanied by a roommate named Trimagasi (Zorion Eguilero) who was sentenced to a stay in The Pit after accidentally killing someone. Goreng wasn't aware that The Pit is also used as a prison.

The Platform Ivan Massague Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia

Nor was he aware of the most nightmarish aspect of The Pit, the food situation. An extravagant feast is prepared on level 0, complete with the favorite foods and drinks of the people who inhabit The Pit… but only that one spread is prepared, and placed on a platform that seems to magically descend through the facility, stopping on each level for just a couple minutes. The two people on each level have only that time to eat from what's on the table, the lower levels existing on the scraps that are left over after the people on the higher levels have gorged themselves. If someone tries to save a food item from the platform, they are punished by having their level filled with extreme heat or cold.

The idea is that if the inhabitants would work together to ration the food for each other, if each one only ate what they needed, that the food would last through the entire facility. But no one handles it that way, and down around level 130 – which may or may not be halfway or further down, we're always learning that the Pit is deeper than anyone knows – people have even been forced to resort to cannibalism.

What's going on in The Pit is obviously an allegory for greed in society, whether the viewer wants to equate it to something like the "trickle-down economics" approach to capitalism, or to something as timely as the hoarding of toilet paper and hand sanitizer that has gone on during the COVID-19 pandemic. Goreng is even accused of being a communist when he suggests there might be a better way than just having everyone grab everything they can stuff into their mouth off the platform. That is a very interesting aspect of the film, but even viewers who don't want to dig too deep into those ideas are likely to be invested in Goreng's plight for the 94 minute duration.

The Platform Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia Alexandra Masangkay

Inhabitants of The Pit spend one month on each level, then find themselves moved to a different level, seemingly at random. Goreng starts off at 48, but he has five more levels to endure. He has it well on some of these levels, while other levels are a hell of starvation, death, and cannibalism. During his first month, he has Trimagasi as his roommate, and Eguilero turns in a terrific performance as this oddball old man, a character who is simultaneously off-putting and delightful to watch. Knowing this was a film by a first-timer and seeing the low budget potential of the concept, I was fully prepared to just watch Goreng and Trigamasi make their way through multiple levels together – two actors on one set that's presented as several. But that's not how the film plays out. While we never venture any further outside of The Pit than to see the preparation of the food or flashbacks to Goreng's volunteer interview, THE PLATFORM actually has a larger scope than I thought it would.

Other characters we meet along the way include Antonia San Juan as Imoguiri, the woman who interviewed Goreng and later volunteers to join him in The Pit (along with her adorable dachshund); a religious man named Baharat (Emilio Buale), who joins Goreng in an endeavor to bring fairness to The Pit and send a message to the higher-ups; and Alexandra Masangkay as the killing machine Miharu, who forms something of a bond with Goreng. We're told that Miharu rides the platform in search of her child, but we're also told that there are no children in The Pit, so it's hard to tell what's true and what isn't in this twisted place. We see a lot more people in The Pit than I expected, and I certainly wasn't expecting the amount of bloody violence the film contains.

THE PLATFORM isn't going to be for everyone, some viewers may be turned away by how strange and unpleasant it is, but I was impressed and engrossed, and I look forward to seeing what Gaztelu-Urrutia does next.

Source: Arrow in the Head

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.