There are three kinds of people: the ones above, the ones below and the once who fall. The Platform is a psychological thriller by a Spanish director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia. This film tells the story of a vertical prison with one cell per level where people come voluntarily to fulfil different needs. A scary feature of this prison is that the only way to get food is a platform which comes to your level once a day, and there are just two minutes to ‘regale’. It sounds alright when being on the first levels but what if a person finds himself at the bottom…

It is necessary to make it clear straightaway – The Platform is not really a typical film for the chillout. It is not funny, not vivid and exploding; probably it will not even make you cry. There is nothing exceptional about visual and audio effects – they are just on the right level and are well-chosen and are matching the genre.

The Platform is much more about the story, about people, its aim is not to entertain but to make people think. Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia did a great job in achieving this, and although he is rarely directing but hits right on target, with three out of his four films getting various nominations in different years.

This is a very wide and symbolic film, with many scenes where the occurring situation may look odd but has a deeply embedded meaning. The most obvious and clear message, which should be a basis for the further musings, is basically replicating a message from ‘Don Quixote’: “The owner of wealth is not made happy by possessing it but by spending it and not by spending as it pleases but knowing how to spend it well.” Needless to say, Goreng (Ivan Massague) chose the ‘Don Quixote’ book as the only subject to take with him to prison.

In terms of the screencast, although there are no stars even of a local scale, they all are doing a great job in fulfilling the role given them by the director. Trimagasi (Zorion Eguileor) plays the role of a serpent, who is trying to eat in Goreng’s mind and make him one of the many ‘spoiled’, selfish and unable to think prisoners. Imoguiri (Antonia San Juan) is an indicator of hopeless truth and blind worship to reality. Baharat (Emilio Buale) is a poor freedom fighter (idealist) who is being swallowed by the system because of his mental weakness and unpreparedness to the brutal reality. Miharu (Alexandra Masangkay) – goes overheads to reach the goal, sweeping almost everyone on her path. Massague’s character is changing during the film and adapting the best from everyone to finally become an ‘ideal’ human being and finally reach the nirvana.

The Platform can hopefully become an eye-opening film for many. It’s not about the prison at all, it’s about real life, about us, how we live, and how can we finally become better.

4 stars

Image: Movie DB

Yaroslav Matveev is a screen contributor at Forge Press.

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