The Platform (Spanish, with English subtitles, Netflix)
Starring Iván Massagué, Antonia San Juan, Zorion Eguileor, Emilio Buale Coka, Alexandra Masangkay
Directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia
Rating: ** (2 stars)
Responses to this eerily prophetic powerful but perverse parable on a Corona-like crisis zone has either been damning or wah-wahing by shocked critics.
I’d rather go with the damning than the wah-wahing. Already sickened by the excesses of panic alarm and despair in our daily lives, it is horrific to see a futuristic horror film about the degenerative effect of war and sickness, to become a reality for civilization.
This one must be avoided at any cost because it brings no joy to our gloomy imprisoned existence. Additionally, this Spanish film vomits its venomous bile on a depraved civilization with graphic description of cannibalism and excretion, not in any particular order. Human beings are shown as survivalist degenerates. And when a bit of compassion grows between the hero and a woman who is tossed on the mobile dining table from floor to floor in vertical vileness, almost like an inedible dish that once was inviting, the compassion is soon smothered to death.
The setting is a vertical multi-storeyed one-room prison building where we meet the protagonist Goreng (Iván Massagué). Just why he is in prison is not of consequence. As he moves from level to level in pursuit of food and freedom (strictly in that order) Goreng encounters four very different co-prisoners who offer him glimpses into the sickening depths of deprivation that the survival instinct prods awake in man-kind (when pushed to the wall, there is nothing kind about man).
The most vicious of Goreng’s co-prisoners is Trimgasi, an aging sly bloke who ties up Goreng during his sleep with plans to feed on his flesh as food gets scarce.
Save your stomach-churning for later. There is plenty more here that can drive the more tender-hearted viewer into a state of emotional lockdown. At its heart this heartless modern horror fable is about the food feud. As the food table is conveyed from one floor of the prison to another the quantity dwindles drastically only because those on the top floors are eating way too much.
The metaphor on food hoarding during these times of enforced lockdowns is hammered in with a bludgeoning directness. There is very little tact and way too much gleeful gore and graphic turpitude in this uneven if somewhat intriguing drama of depravity, decimation, dread and death.
Do yourself a favour. Stay away from this unorthodox take on a nihilistic civilization eating into each other’s territory. Watch something happier. Like the PM Modi telling us how we can save ourselves.