Utopia

Staff Writer: Blake Hopster

Just like everyone else on the planet, I have been bored out of my mind over this quarantine. Pacing around my home tends to lose its interest after about six seconds. I turned my attention to a movie one day and stumbled upon a Spanish thriller/horror film called The Platform.

I have never been so infatuated in a horror film such as The Platform. I wanted to use my passion for this movie to talk about more than just its surface. The film is truly attempting to present a deeper message to its viewers. Underlying themes about morality, greed, and our society are all present in this great film.

This article won’t be a deep dive into every scene of this film, instead I’m going to be touching on the important moments and explaining their meanings and how they relate to today’s society. I can’t recommend everyone reading this to go and watch the film enough. You won’t regret it.

The film begins with our protagonist, Goreng, opening his eyes to discover he’s in a hole, but not just any hole, The Hole.

The Hole is a structure that is a room made of concrete with two beds, a sink, a light, and a hole right in the middle of the room on the floor and the ceiling. When looking down the hole, there is seemingly an infinite amount of the same exact room filled with more people all with a hole leading down to seemingly nowhere. The same exact thing is through the hole in the ceiling. A seemingly infinite amount of rooms above Goreng. However, Goreng does know what floor he is on since it is etched into the wall. Floor 48.

The Hole from floor 48. It seemingly goes on for eternity.
Photo credit: The Platform (2019)

There is an older man across the room from him named Trimigasi. Trimigasi is particularly stand-offish and not caring. Goreng attempts to speak to the people below him but is quickly stopped by Trimigasi.

“Do not speak to those below you” Trimigasi gripes. “Why?” asks Goreng. “Because they are below you.” Trimigasi simply answers. Goreng then attempts to speak those above him but Trimigasi again stops him, telling him that he cannot speak to those above him because they won’t answer.

Can such a tiny scene as that be compared to our society today? I think so. Why would those more well-off care to speak to those below them? The people in The Hole seem to already have adapted to this ideology. A platform starts floating down into the room that is filled to the brim

with food. The food isn’t normal upon closer inspection, in fact it’s all half-eaten and strewn about. This platform seems to be stopping on every floor and it is the only way the people in The Hole can eat. If Goreng is on floor 48 and there is two people per floor, then that means he is eating the leftovers of 94 people. Trimigasi eats the food like an animal, stuffing his face without any second thought. He is already shown to be extremely greedy.

Later, Goreng attempts to ration the food since if there’s seemingly hundreds of floors, then the food is probably all but gone at around floor 70. Leaving hundreds starving.

Once again Trimigasi stops him. “Are you a communist?” He asks. He tells Goreng he should be grateful for the floor he was given, and he should take advantage of it because your floor is changed every month. He says that even the higher floors aren’t as good because there isn’t anything to look forward to. You’re at the top so the only thing you can wait for is a worse and lower floor the next month. At least on the lower floors there is something to work and hope for.

Our main protagonist Goreng. Confusion sets in for Goreng as Trimigasi keeps griping at him for what seems to be harmless acts to Goreng.
Photo Credit: The Platform (2019)

In The Hole, especially if given a floor without food, you’re forced to survive by any means necessary. It’s desperate, and forces some people to become primal and ruthless, but you still have a reason to keep going. But on the higher levels, the only thing you have left to fear is the possibility of losing everything when you go down to a lower level. On top of all that, having everything you need and in total isolation can put you inside your head. For a lot of people that’s the worst place to be.

It’s extremely common for the super-rich to be depressed and lonely. CEO’s have double the chance of being depressed than the general public. Everyone wants to live out The American Dream and become successful. When in reality, reaching the end of the ladder can make people just melancholic and miserable. With over 200 levels in the hole, the majority don’t get to eat, or at most get the scraps left over by those above. Much like how the top 1% own the mass majority, too much to spend in one lifetime. Or, in the case of The Hole, too much to eat in one day.

Waking up on a random level in The Hole reflects real-life people’s situations when they are born. With pure luck, you could be born into a wealthy family with everything being handed to you, or connections that can help you become easily successful. However, for the mass majority this isn’t the case, and The Hole shows that. The only thing that you can do is adapt to the hand you’ve been dealt.

On the last day of the month, Trimigasi tells Goreng that he has a good heart, but he doesn’t think he will survive long. It’s an empty compliment because having a good heart means nothing in the hole. Friendship means nothing when survival is at stake. Goreng awakes the next day, but something is amiss. He is tied down to his bed. He checks to see what floor he has been shuffled to. Floor 171. Trimigasi has tied him down in fear of Goreng eventually killing and eating him because there is no food.

A week passes, and Trimigasi has nothing left to do but cut off some of Goreng’s flesh to keep himself alive. Goreng tells him that he solely blames Trimigasi for his actions. Not the circumstances, not the people above, and not even the people in charge of the hole. Trimigasi doesn’t even acknowledge what he says. If he did, he would have to come to terms with the consequences of his actions.

It’s the same reason people find animals adorable but turn around and eat them a couple hours later. I’m not a vegan by the way, and I’m not trying to scold anyone who eats meat but if most of us were asked to kill the animal were about to eat, I could imagine the majority backing out because we don’t directly see the process. Later, the platform lowers where there is supposed to be food, but there is nothing. Half-eaten food doesn’t seem so bad now does it.

Without spoiling too much of the movie, Goreng eventually has an interaction with another character, who is a firm believer in rationing out the food just like Goreng was at the beginning of the movie. This character tells him a very impactful line, “If everyone ate only what they needed; the food would reach the lowest floor.” I’ll let you figure out how obvious of a statement that is on the real world and capitalism.

Goreng eventually encounters another character who has a rope and is determined on escaping. His escape attempt quickly fails when the people above him defecate onto him. Goreng and this new character decide to travel down the hole to ration out the food with everyone. To attempt to make a change. They break apart their bedframes to use as weapons to defend themselves. He tells everyone below him that no one gets any food until level 50. Since they can eat a lot and can go one day without food. Many people attempt to take more food than they should, and try to disobey Goreng’s rules, and Goreng swiftly kills them.

Clearly the movie, so far, is exposing the infinite flaws of Capitalism. The people at the higher levels taking all they want and not caring about those below them. However as noble as Goreng’s Socialist cause seems to be, they’re forcing their brutal ideology onto other people, killing many who would have still been alive without their input. They are another source of oppression for the people in the hole to deal with.

With that in mind, can a perfect Utopia that humanity longs for exist? Is there a perfect form of government that can keep the world in perfect equilibrium? No. Creating a Utopia is impossible when people are naturally greedy and self-serving.

The Platform does a great job at portraying that in this wonderful film. There may never be a Utopia, but there will always be good people in the world. Again, I highly recommend The Platform. It’s a great movie and I didn’t want to spoil everything in this article. There is still much to discover in this film. Go see how it ends!

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