The Platform – Simple Plot, Complex Design

Recently, Netflix released the 2019 Spanish film The Platform (in the original El Hoyo — "pit", "hole") directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia. The script is written by David Desola and Pedro Rivera. The film won the category People's Choice Best Midnight Madness film at the Toronto International Film Festival known for the fact that there is no professional jury, the decisions are made by the festival's audience.

by Sandra Kuznetsova


A slab of food descends floor by floor in a prison. The inmates above eat heartily, leaving those below starving and desperate. A rebellion is imminent.
This description of the film was given on Netflix. It's not exactly a prison, and it's not going to be a rebellion in its pure meaning. But they conveyed the essence correctly: the scene is a multi-story tower with tiers, with two people on each floor. A rectangular shaft runs through the center of the Tower, where a platform with food descends once a day. Every month the floor changes for each pair. The main task is to survive until the end of your term in the Tower. The higher the level is, the easier it is to survive because there's a plenty of food. And vice versa — the lower the level is, the harder it all becomes as there's less and less food with each level.

By genre this is a light thriller. There are no horror at all, the only fictional things there are a flying platform with food and some plot holes that can be called nothing but fiction. Violent and bloody moments are not so embarrassing at some points, but quite psychologically unpleasant.

Also if you are not a fan of close-up shooting of eyes, eating worms, rather disgusting treatment of food and other delights, you will have to be patient.

The plot is quite linear, there are no unexpected plot twists. A lot of talk, a bit of murder and unfinished storylines. And a bit of hallucinations. Obviously. The main thing in this film is the social message, which is straightforward. It's unclear why such a plain truth should have been put into this sometimes too confusing film. Although it may not be superfluous to remind people of one simple truth.

The Tower ("Hole" in the original) or "Vertical Self-Management Center", as the Administration calls it, is a metaphor for the modern capitalist society, where the quality of a person's life depends on their social status. And just like in life, at any moment you can lose or gain everything. "There are three kinds of people. The ones above, the ones below and the ones who fall ".

«efore going to the tower, everyone is interviewed and asked about their favourite food which is going to be included in the menu. The amount of people equals the number of dishes. Everyone would be able to eat if each person carefully ate only their own or any other one meal (and this is despite the fact that some portions are large enough to feed several people). It seems that the solution to the problem is obvious, but, like in life, those who are on the upper levels, feasting, leaving nothing to those who are at the bottom.
People from different levels do not communicate: the ones above should not talk to the ones below, who do not even try to talk to the first ones – they will not respond anyway. No one even tries to unite people so that everyone has enough food. Till now.
The main character Goreng gets into the Tower of his own free will: he wanted to quit smoking and to read «Don Quixote», as well as to get "some accredited degree". People can take anything with them to the Tower, and it is not an accident that Goreng chose this particular book. He is a kind of don Quixote (the appearance of actor Iván Massagué is a kind of hint for it), who believes the best and desperately fights for the best. At first, he tries to influence people verbally, but quickly realizes that admonitions do not help and resorts to more effective methods.
As a result, you will find an hour and a half of battles for food, as well as the main character's battles with human vices and circumstances. It's also worth mentioning the sound accompaniment by Aransasu Calleja – the music in the film perfectly conveys the mood.
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