WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Platform, now streaming on Netflix.
With a huge portion of the world self-isolating and locking down at home, many people are looking for content to binge. Streaming services like Hulu, Apple TV+, Disney+, the DC Universe and, of course, Netflix are in demand more than ever as avid fans of film and TV look to escape the harsh reality of the outside world due to the coronavirus pandemic.
With respect to Netflix, there’s one particular Spanish movie, The Platform, that may well be the best film for this time of pandemic as it acts as an education piece on society’s pyramid. However, when you needle deeper into the meaning of the story and the nuanced layers and messages packed in, it may well be an unwanted refresher and the worst one you could possibly watch during these trying times.
This film focuses on Goreng, a timid man who enters the Pit to conduct a study on the human psyche. This structure is a tower that runs for over 300 levels, with a rectangle cut in the middle on each level. A concrete slab table is passed down every day with food and after a certain time, it goes from floor to floor, with the elites and chefs watching how much food is left for the people below. In other words, they’re testing people to see how greedy they are or how compassionate they could be during these times of survival.
What it does is hold up a mirror to reflect society and really reiterate what we know about our fellow man in the real world. It’s a very powerful statement as director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia shows how, while yes, the elites are manipulating people, the mid and lower levels do ultimately have the power to ration off food. They just don’t opt to, and so viewers do see that while they blame others, sometimes the monsters are our very selves. So you can tell The Platform wants to show that we, the common folk, actively take part in the vicious cycles of classism, elitism and capitalism. It’s a bold stance as most movies touching on this subject, such as Snowpiercer, only hold the rich as accountable, but The Platform shows everyone plays a part.
However, while this helps expand our minds and broaden our sociopolitical horizon, it’s scary and honestly the worst thing you could watch as it’ll remind you of what’s transpiring right outside your door. The movie is reminiscent of society right now, where everything from groceries to cleaning materials to other basic necessities all humans needs are being hoarded by those who can afford and have access. It’s not just those living in ivory towers, it’s the people who form parts of our communities. Now, though, that sense of camaraderie is out the window because it’s apparently survival of the fittest for some selfish, uncaring and inhumane people, who just don’t care about being their brother’s keeper.
Watching lower levels battle is a parallel for how people are fighting each other down right now, and there’s no one to blame but themselves. Goreng arms himself and tries to ration off food, but it doesn’t work. He can’t figure out why the common folk are behaving like this as it just allows the elites to laugh and manipulate them even more as a game — a horrifically realistic snapshot of the present where the wealthy may not be laughing as much, but they’re better equipped in terms of housing, amenities, money and health insurance to combat what’s to come.
This kind of escapism puts people right back in the cynical, nihilistic world they’re trying to escape. To rub it in, the levels are all about social distancing as the elites don’t want the virus of communication and rebellion passed on, which Goreng tries to break by recruiting Baharat and moving down. He wants everyone to share food and also send back up what remains to show the masters they still have a heart. It’s a failed mission, however, as mankind just keeps tearing each other apart and letting greed prevail. The elites successfully conquer and divide, and as people quarantine within the Pit, they go mad, kill and eat each other. As a result, in this film, you get both sides of the equation which makes for great cinema, but it’s also a stark reminder that humanity chooses to poison itself when the chips are down rather than uplift each other.
Starring Ivan Massagué, Zorion Eguileor, Antonia San Juan, Emilio Buale and Alexandra Masangkay, The Platform is currently streaming on Netflix.
KEEP READING: The Platform’s Biggest Plot Holes, Explained
Netflix's The Platform might be the best film to watch during the COVID-19 era, but when the message about unity sinks in, it could be the worst one.