The Platform (Netflix) might not be subtle in its approach to anti-capitalist critique, but it’s morbid enough to make its obvious point loud and clear.
The Platform (Netflix) quite literally makes a meal of its metaphors, but perhaps in our thoroughly divided age, that’s just what’s needed – especially as most of the world’s population currently endures confinement in a capitalist culture which considers most at the bottom of the ladder, deserving only of scraps.
Spain’s Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia reimagines the ladder as a vertical prison, two of its inmates confined to a single cell on each level. Every day, the titular platform is lowered through the structure; a glistening gourmet feast on which the higher-ups get first dibs. By the time the platform reaches those at the bottom, it contains only scraps and unwanted cast-offs to be fought over by the desperate and needy.
None of this is subtle. And that’s the point, in large part because the obviousness of the allegory is part of its appeal. Stripping away all other material wealth and privilege in favor of only basic food and sustenance makes the void between haves and have-nots even starker; the fact that many of the prison’s inhabitants are there by choice in the hopes of being randomly assigned a position from which to become the oppressors themselves is the kind of grubby individualism on which a system like this thrives.
Then there are those like Goreng (Ivan Massagué), who assumed a stay at the facility would be a useful retreat. His cellmate Trimagasi (Zorion Eguileor) is on-hand to make the rules and the metaphor explicit, as though it needed any confirmation. The earnest way The Platform indulges its own ideas is pretty compelling; its endless gluttony and indulgence are useful as both metaphors and grotesque visuals – and that’s before we start getting into graphic displays of actual cannibalism. David Desola and Pedro Rivero’s efficient script evokes other obvious message-movies, but finds its own blend of blatant satire, subtler iconography, and garden-variety depravity.
The question of whether the metaphor is enough to satisfy will be the decider of The Platform’s success, but you can’t fault the film for its appetites.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.