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The Platform — The "Accidentally" Timely Film During Lockdowns

This film is very timely for a pandemic lockdown. The movie "The Platform," also known as "El Hoyo" in its Spanish original, is, on its surface, a simple movie about a prison that’s run oddly. The prison is constructed vertically, with several floors while two people are confined in each level. In the center of each cell is a large hole, while a vertical platform loaded with food passes each day. It stops for a brief moment at each floor, lowering progressively through all the floors in the vertical prison until it reaches the bottom. Or so we think.

Now, spoilers are going to be sprinkled in from here on out, though this isn’t the kind of film you watch for plot twists; it’s allegorical. The story is told from the perspective of the protagonist, who voluntarily threw himself into the jail to perhaps “quit smoking and read a book.” He didn’t truly know what he was signing up for, however, and he also didn’t know that every month, all prisoners are reassigned from one floor to a different floor, chosen completely at random.

So what do you think happened to the food on the platform by the time it got past the first few floors?


Later in the film, it dawned on us that there were hundreds of floors in the prison. Unfortunately, the food never ever made it down. In fact, by the first hundred floors, it was completely picked over, leaving those unlucky enough to be stuck further down to fend for themselves. The implications of that are pretty gory, and the movie doesn’t shy away from anything.

The film then follows the protagonist as he attempts to change the system (I won’t say how) and convince his fellow prisoners to eat only what they need each day; ideally that way, everyone will have something to eat off the platform. Inevitably though, everyone is intent on looking out for their self-interests, with absolutely zero concern for the wellbeing of the other prisoners.

I’m not usually one to go for allegories, but this one was pretty good once I unpacked it a bit. There were a few standout metaphors in there, besides the obvious message that our selfish greed comes at the expense of others. For one, the fact that the inmates change floors at random each month was a nice touch. It reflects the way that seldom, in real life, those who find themselves sitting pretty on top of the world can lose it all in a flash of bad karma, and wind up part of the same company whom they turned their nose up at before.

What was more interesting, though, was the way that the prisoners behaved after surviving a lower floor and making it to a higher floor. Rather than show compassion for others who had taken their place at the bottom, they took even more while they were at the top, because “they didn’t know when they’d be there again.”

The Platform highlights an important challenge that humanity needs to solve if we’re going to move successfully into the future, and in my opinion is well worth the watch, if you have the gut to take on a bit of nudity and a lot of gore (plus points to the director for finding a way to incorporate a katana into the movie).

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