In the prison called The Pit, two prisoners share a cell. For two minutes a day a platform full of food descends down the tower to feed the prisoners. You either are able to eat or not depending on if the other prisoners let you.
Director: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia
Cast: Ivan Massague, Zorion Eguileor, Antonia San Juan, Emilio Buale, Alexandra Massangkay
MPAA Rating: TV-MA for violence, language, gore, and smoking.
Fun Fact: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s feature film debut.
Most of the time when I’m browsing Netflix, I tend to stumble on something that I didn’t expect seeing. I’m always looking for something interesting to watch and The Platform was the latest film that sparked my interest. It’s a film from Spain and I’ve been hooked on foreign cinema as of late. I watched the trailer and decided why not and turned it on. For the whole ninety minutes I was hooked and was at the edge of my seat. After the film ended, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
The script written by David Desola, is full of tension and suspense that doesn’t play like a typical prison drama. It’s a unique concept that is full of social commentary that relates to some issues today. The main focus of the film is survival with interesting twists. Each month the prisoners have to switch cells so you can start at the top and at one month you might be at the very bottom. Director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s direction shows us the perfect tension and suspense that blends horror elements to it. Being in prison is a horrible thing and just imagine not being able to eat for a month. This leads to people going insane and doing anything they can to survive and his leads to some graphic and uncomfortable visuals that pay off. The violence is brutal and for a movie like this it’s needed. It shows how far humanity is willing to go to survive in something like this. This film is defiantly not for the faint of heart that’s for sure.
The visuals are also top notch as the prison is vast and never ending. I haven’t seen something like this in a film. The cinematography is well done as it shows the vastness of the prison. Every time the camera focused on the pit; it gave me goosebumps. I’m someone that’s afraid of heights and this film brought that fear out. When the scenes of violence happen, we get clean shots of what’s going on. The makeup work is fantastic as well as it looks realistic especially on Ivan Massague. The music is haunting, and I felt uncomfortable when it came on during certain scenes. The technical achievements in this film bring it to life and you will need to see it to believe it.
For a ninety-minute feature it’s fast paced. There is something going on at every scene and it doesn’t end up till the very end. While there is some much-needed exposition is certain areas, it’s elevated by its fantastic visuals. It does slow down towards the end, but to me it felt like the feature was cooling off after such an emotional rollercoaster ride. While some might hate this ending to me it was one of those endings that I loved. It leaves you questioning things and to me it’s fun to hear other people’s interpretations on it.
The acting is top notch and I really dug what these characters were doing to survive. Ivan Massague portrays Goreng, who enters the prison on a six month stay. He has his motives on why he’s there, but things start to happen that turn for the worse. Massague does a fantastic job on breaking down his character’s mental psyche. It’s a slow burn from being upbeat to beat down and in a way, you feel for him. Zorion Eguileor is also fantastic as Goreng’s cell mate Trimagasi. Eguileor looks like a decent guy, but after a while you will see how twisted he is. The chemistry between Massague and Eguileor is off the charts and I loved all the scenes they were in together I wanted more.
Overall, if you have the courage, I recommend The Platform. It has an interesting premise with various social commentary that makes you think. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and for Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s first feature length picture, it pays off. The violence is brutal and horrific, two major things that fit in this film. Once again, it’s not for the faint of heart and it can be hard to stomach some scenes. This brings to a well shot film that had some nice technical achievements from the look of it to the makeup. The cast does a great job especially from Ivan Massague and Zorion Eguileor. I couldn’t get enough of their scenes together and got excited for the film to progress. The only wish that I had is that I saw this in its native language. The version I watched on Netflix was the English dubbed version and while great, I will need to find the original version to get a new perspective of it.