'The Platform' Review: The film reminds of the time we are living in

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

In the recent years a lot of interesting experiments have been happening at the conceptual level in world cinema. As a result, we have witnessed films like Roma (Mexico), Shoplifters (Japan) and Parasite (South Korea), among others. Another important film that can be added to the list is Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia›s Spanish language film The Platform aka El hoyo which originally premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival where Netflix secured a worldwide streaming deal for the film. The Platform, which was released globally by the streaming giant a few weeks back, and has an uncanny similarity to the situation the world finds itself in owing to the coronavirus pandemic. No, the film has nothing to do with any virus or contagion. But what makes it resemble our present situation is the fact that it’s set in a uniquely designed prison where social distancing between prisoners and rationing of food are absolutely mandatory.

In order to better understand the world wherein The Platform is set, just imagine a prison with vertical levels. The food is served top to bottom on a platform that moves though the levels, serving one after the other. And it’s the best multi-course meal that one can imagine. Each level has two prisoners and those at Level 1 enjoy the best feast. After serving them for a few minutes the platform moves to Level 2 and so on. But as it reaches further down there are only leftovers. The prisoners till Level 50 still consider themselves fortunate for even the leftovers are good enough to feed their stomachs. But what about those who are further down the vertical prison? Well, they starve! But that’s not all, for, every 30 days the prisoners are shuffled randomly. If you think this allows those at the bottom to get a better chance to feed themselves at the upper levels then you are wrong. Because there is every possibility that those at the lower levels may get assigned to a level that’s even further down and those at the upper levels may get assigned an even better level.  

The Platform deals with themes such as insecurity, gluttony, mistrust, betrayal, fatalism, selfishness and stratification of human society. What the inmates fail to appreciate is the combined power of faith, trust and cooperation. It’s something that we all tend to forget while dealing with any crisis owing to our growing anxieties leading to an abject state of desperation. Certainly, one wouldn’t find a more relevant movie to watch than The Platform in the present times.

Rating: 8.5/10

A version of this review was first published in The Sunday Guardian.

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