'The Platform' Trailer: A Vertical Prison Drives A Twisted Allegory About Greed And Gluttony

There are countless science fiction films that serve as provocative allegories about society at large, ranging from Fritz Lang's classic Metropolis all the way back in 1927 to Neill Blomkamp's District 9 from 2009 and plenty more in between and beyond. Netflix is bringing us another one from Spain by way of director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia.

The Platform takes place in a vertical prison where inmates are assigned to a level and forced to ration food from a platform that moves between the floors. The top floors get exquisite feasts while the lower levels get less and less as the meal platform comes down to them. Sure, it's a bit on the nose, but if you watch The Platform trailer, you'll see that this looks outstanding.

The Platform Trailer

Here's a detailed description of the movie from Fantastic Fest, where the film premiered last fall:

When we meet Goreng (Ivan Massagué), he has just arrived on The Platform and has been assigned to the level of old-hand Trimagasi (Zorion Eguileor) who explains to him the rules: the levels are assigned randomly, those in the upper tier get to eat and those in the lower tier have to fight for survival. Although Goreng is reluctant at first to accept the system he finds himself in, it isn't long before his survival instincts kick in, igniting a battle that spirals all the way down to the core of what it means to be a human being.

If you're getting some Snowpiercer vibes from this movie, that's to be expected. It has a similar approach to class, but a review from JM Mutore at Birth.Movies.Death says that it's more of a companion than a copycat:

"Snowpiercer (another confined dystopian sci-fi with proto-socialist aims) has become an obvious point of comparison, but I think The Platform is less a derivative and more of a companion to that film. The emphasis the film places on the volatility of The Pit—the fact that anyone on the higher floors can end up on the lower floors overnight and vice versa—is a sharp contrast to the efficient, resilient caste system of the Snowpiercer. The fact that both institutions are ultimately resistant to change is the dark joke at the heart of The Platform."

Meanwhile, our own review from Meredith Borders at the Toronto International Film Festival describes it as Cube meets Don Quixote. She wrote:

"Gaztelu-Urrutia's camerawork is inventive enough – his pacing tidy enough, his tone clever enough, his performances engaging enough – that we never get tired of seeing the same four walls and few faces throughout The Platform's running time. For being so deeply dark, the film is surprisingly funny and thoughtful, and it's got a wonderful, sly energy to it..."

Considering all the nonsense that's going on in the United States (and all over the globe) right now, this feels like the perfect timely story. Billionaires continue to control and ruin the world for the rest of us, and everyone else is left desperately trying to hold onto what they can. It might be an allegory, but it's not too far removed from the class warfare that society faces everyday.

The Platform drops on Netflix on March 20, 2020.