Class warfare is distilled into an ingenius and brutal allegory in Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s “The Platform,” where a vertical prison proves that wealth, simplified in this case as food, doesn’t trickle down from the top few to the many suffering at the bottom.
Those on the higher levels feast on a daily banquet while the rest of the inmates get the leftovers. The lower you are, the less likely there will be anything left on the floating platform that carries the dishes. Each month, survivors wake up on a different floor, and even the ones who endured the horror of the abyss become oppressors once they get a taste of abundance. Greedy individualism portrayed at its most disturbingly primal.
Amid vicious violence and cannibalism, writers David Desola and Pedro Rivero (creator of the bleak animated gem “Birdboy: The Forgotten Children”) introduce an agent of change, Goreng (Ivan Massagué), a new participant in the wicked social experiment mixing criminals with regular citizens promised a reward. Moral ambiguity probes the best and worst of the human condition at every turn.
The visual design of the timely concept makes its philosophical thesis about the haves and the have nots strikingly clear as it drags us into its ferociously eerie atmosphere. Formidable from a technical standpoint, “The Platform” thrives on effectively grotesque production design and ghastly special effects that shock and disgust with purpose.
“Obviously,” replies Goreng’s chillingly devious cellmate Trimagasi (Zorion Eguileor) to all his inquiries about the mechanics of this nightmare, as if the status quo was absolute and unchangeable. Goreng believes otherwise, but knows that peaceful revolutions don’t exist. A must-see in our increasingly unequal world, Gaztelu-Urrutia’s astonishing debut makes a strong case for the masses to eat the rich.
Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes
Playing: Available March 20 on Netflix