Movie #88 2020: The Platform (2019)

You may or may not know that I watch quite a lot of Asian cinema.

Well, it’s time to switch it up a little! I’ve travelled back to Europe, to watch this Spanish sci-fi style horror/thriller from director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia.

Released on Netflix UK this year, for some reason the streaming service sets this movie to automatically play with an English dub, rather than its original Spanish audio. Look, if you really can’t stand subtitles, you’re going to have to stick to that. But I can tell you now that there is no chance that this movie would be effective enough with dubbing over it. If anything, the motion of mouths moving out of sync with the dialogue would be nothing but distracting. Much more distracting than any subtitles would be. So I implore you: please, please watch this in its original language with subtitles. It’s the only way.

I’ve seen plenty of comparison between this movie and Bong Joon-Ho‘s Snowpiercer. Most people have made this connection because of each movie’s nod to the importance of their horizontal and vertical layouts. However, in my opinion, these two movies are more closely linked due to their themes of class structure and their questions of human ethics. Each movie utilises its layout to give a visual map in a way between rich and poor, but that’s as far as it goes for me. Either way, both the layout and the choice of theme are effective in putting across the message at the forefront of The Platform, which I won’t detail too much here as it keeps the film more interesting when you know less about it.

The score in The Platform is extremely effective, namely at creating high tension levels which is central to how successful a movie like this will be. Think Saw… but fashion. Ivan Massagué is juuuust charismatic enough to carry the film in the lead role as well. If he wasn’t, I do believe the whole thing would have fallen apart.

The glaring gripe that most critics have had with this movie is the ending. No one likes a bad ending, which is understandable. I wouldn’t go as far as saying this is a ‘bad’ ending, as it is easy to see why it was chosen. However, it is slightly infuriating as the viewer to not receive a full explanation of how the whole thing came about. It is difficult to explain this without spoiling it, so I’ll just say that more explanation of the backstory was needed. There is a little bit of this, but it’s just a few inches away from being a complete story.

Overall, this is a movie that isn’t too long, is good as a late-night viewing option, and has a concept that is extremely original and interesting. Keep an eye out for it, especially if you’re a fan of horror and Saw-like situations.

The Platform is available to stream on Netflix UK.

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