Movie Review: "The Platform"
The Pit is a vertical prison of sorts. Every floor has one room with two people, there are many floors, and those within the Pit are only allowed to eat once per day. However, there is a stipulation regarding how they are to eat. There is a rectangular hole in the center of each floor, and once per day, a platform lowers from the top floor, all the way down to the bottom. The people on floor one can eat as much as they want—or can in the short time that the platform is on their floor—then the platform lowers to floor two, and so on. This means that those on floor two are eating the leftovers from floor one, the people on floor three are eating the leftovers from floor two, and so on.
Goreng (Ivan Massague) has admitted himself into the Pit and has wound up on floor 48. By the time the platform gets to his level, the food on it has already been decimated and what is left looks disgusting. However, there are many more floors below his own. Goreng is now stuck in this situation for six months, and the people change floors once per month—at random. Now, Goreng just has to hope that his floor number does not get worse next month.
The Pros & Cons
The Premise (+8pts)
The Setup (-2pts)
Cellmates & Floors (+8pts)
The Kid (-4pts)
The End (-6pts)
Pro: The Premise (+8pts)
Food starts at floor one, where the two cellmates can eat as much as they want in the brief time that the platform is on their floor, then the platform moves on to every platform below. The cooks make sure that there is enough food for everyone in the Pit—as long as everyone eats only what they need—but that was not what happens. I found this premise to be really interesting for a few reasons. The first was the obvious metaphor that the Pit represents social classes and that the most fortunate people—those on the upper floors—use up most of the word's wealth—the food on the platform.
However, I also enjoyed the premise due to the moral dilemma it introduced within the context of the movie—ignoring the metaphor. Your instinct would be that, if you were on a higher floor, you would save some food for those below. However, what if the floors directly below you ate far more than their share anyway—essentially making your attempt at rationing negligible? Would you still limit how much you ate the next day, and how long would you be able to do that if you are only allowed to eat once per day? It raised some interesting moral questions, which were compelling, and were only more compelling as Goreng kept switching floors, but I will get into that later in this review. Long story short, I found this premise to be both very interesting and very engaging.
Con: The Setup (-2pts)
I thought the filmmakers did a poor job of explaining what this place was, who was running it, why were they running it, why Goreng went in voluntarily, and what everyone else had done that resulted in them getting winding up in the Pit. Fortunately, the movie started with Goreng waking up inside, and there were enough other questions regarding how things worked inside the Pit, so I ended up being able to move on from my issues with the setup pretty quickly. Nonetheless, a brief scene or two answering some of the questions—raised as a result of the setup—would have given the story more context and would have made it easier to get invested in the beginning of the story. Again, I was able to move on from this issue pretty quickly as a result of the movie's strengths, so I did not think that this was a major issue.
Pro: Cellmates & Floors (+8pts)
The filmmakers had a decent premise here, but that premise was made even better by changing up the floors and switching up Goreng's cellmate. Every month, the cellmates on each floor switch floors at random. They go to sleep the last night of the month, and when they wake up, they find themselves on a new floor. Their new floor could be much better or much worse than their previous floor, and this variety made it so that the movie never got stale. Goreng’s situation was always changing and each floor brought new challenges.
Then there was Goreng's varying cellmates. As the floors changed each month, the cellmates were supposed to stay the same. I am not going to spoil what happened to the cellmates as Goreng progressed through his story, but in addition to the varying floors, the varying cellmates also introduced new challenges for Goreng. Each of his cellmates had very different personalities and goals, and switching them up contributed to the movie not feeling stale. With each new cellmate, Goreng was in a very different place mentally. Right when Goreng and one cellmate would finally got on the same page, the whole thing got flipped on its head and Goreng had to deal with a new cellmate. As a result, Goreng grew a lot from these relationships, and I enjoyed seeing how he interacted with each one, as well as how they impacted him.
Con: The Kid (-4pts)
Within the Pit, there was a resident—let us be honest, they were prisoners—who was searching for her child. She would kill her cellmate each month, and ride the platform down in an attempt to find her child. One of the storylines of the movie was that Goreng and his cellmates were not certain if her child really existed. Maybe the woman was telling the truth, maybe she was crazy, or maybe she just wanted attention or an excuse to kill. I do not want to give away which way the filmmakers went with it, but the reveal raised more questions than it answered. If the filmmakers had answered any of these questions, I would have been okay with it, but the way they went did not make any sense to me and I think the filmmakers should have further developed this story-line.
Pro: Goreng (+5pts)
I will keep this one brief, because I kind of already talked about this when discussing the changing floors and cellmates. The character of Goreng went through quite a journey in this movie. He started optimistic and hopeful, the first couple of months broke him, and he only kept changing from there. The character was very different in the end of the movie than he was in the beginning, and everything in between was just a roller-coaster of character development. I just really liked watching this situation's impact on the character, and was always curious to see what each twist and turn would do to him.
Con: The End (-6pts)
By the end of the movie, I unfortunately got the impression that the filmmakers had an idea, but had no idea where they wanted to go with it. Throughout the movie, they raised a bunch of questions, and left me very curious to see how things would be wrapped up in the end, as well as the potential things that could be revealed. However, the ending offered no resolution. It felt like it was building toward some final shocking moment, only for the movie to end before that happened.
It was like the ending of the movie was cut out, and the filmmakers chose to release it anyway. The filmmakers had a decent premise, they made a whole movie around that premise, but they did not have an ending, so thought they could just leave that part out and it would be okay. I liked everything that led up to it, but the way the movie ended was pretty disappointing and did not even make any statement regarding the overall metaphor of the movie. This could have been one of those movies with a shocking, thought provoking finish, but the filmmakers failed to stick the landing.
Grade: B- (84pts)
I saw the trailer for this movie and I was hooked. It seemed really weird, and it definitely was, but I knew it would be a though-provoking movie. The premise raised a number of moral dilemmas, and I was interested to see how the ever changing scenario impacted the main character. It was an interesting premise, and the situation's impact on the main character was compelling, but it was not perfect.
The storyline regarding the woman looking for her child had its interesting and exciting moments, but ultimately raised more questions than it answered. The ending of the movie was also non-existent, which was pretty disappointing. The filmmakers did not seem to know where they wanted to go with the ending—and took the lazy way out—but the movie was exciting, intense, thought-provoking, and left me on the edge of my seat in anticipation of what would come next. The filmmakers did not really stick the landing, but I still thought it was a pretty decent movie.