The Platform

This dystopian allegory of privilege and greed is something of a cousin to Snowpiercer. Set in a country (ostensibly Spain) that could be the future or could be today, The Platform takes place inside a multistory prison complex – rather like a gigantic elevator shaft – in which a pair of prisoners is randomly assigned to a different floor each month. In the middle of each cell is a large square hole. Once a day, a platform descends through the hole from above, carrying whatever food is left over from the higher-up floors. If you're lucky enough to be on the first floor, you're free to gorge on a gourmet feast. On the 60th floor, you get scraps. On the 120th floor, you may have to resort to cannibalism to stay alive. And the floors go even deeper than that.

The Platform lays out its complicated exposition quite quickly, as new prisoner Goreng (Iván Massagué), who actually volunteered for a six month stint in this prison in exchange for some sort of degree, wakes up across from his cellmate Trimagasi (Zorion Eguileor), a gruff older fellow who explains all the rules to him. What happened to Trimagasi's previous cellmate? Take a guess.

I'm not exactly sure just what the moral of The Platform is, but Goreng's flailing attempts to get the prisoners of the higher floors to eat more sparingly, so that food can reach the lower floors and feed the more desperate, suggest a metaphor for the difficulty of achieving a truly socialist state. The film's politics, however, can be hard to discern amongst the blood and guts.

This isn't a horror movie per se, but it's horrific in many ways. If you've seen the 1997 Canadian thriller Cube, The Platform is essentially a smarter, better-acted variation, with a niftier idea. Gaztelu-Urrutia makes the most of his claustrophobic set, and although the film is rather stagy at first (it's based on a play), it ultimately hits its cinematic stride. Worth watching if you have the stomach for it.