The Platform (film)

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The Platform
Theatrical release poster
SpanishEl hoyo
LiterallyThe Hole
Directed byGalder Gaztelu-Urrutia
Screenplay by
  • David Desola
  • Pedro Rivero
Story byDavid Desola
Produced byCarlos Juárez
CinematographyJon D. Domínguez
Edited by
  • Haritz Zubillaga
  • Elena Ruiz
Music byAranzazu Calleja
  • Basque Films
  • Mr. Miyagi Films
  • Plataforma La Película A.I.E
Distributed byFestival Films
Release dates
  • 6 September 2019 (2019-09-06) (TIFF)
  • 8 November 2019 (2019-11-08) (Spain)[1]
Running time
94 minutes

The Platform (Spanish: El hoyo, transl.The Hole) is a 2019 Spanish social science fiction horror film directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia.[2] The film is set in a large, tower-style "Vertical Self-Management Center." Its residents, who are switched every month between its many floors, are fed via a platform which, initially filled with food at the top floor, gradually descends through the tower's levels, stopping for a fixed amount of time on each. The system inevitably leads to conflict, as the residents at the top levels get to eat as much as they can, with each level only getting the leftovers from the previous ones.[2]

The film's cast includes Iván Massagué, Antonia San Juan, Zorion Eguileor, Emilio Buale Coka and Alexandra Masangkay.[2] It premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), where it won the People's Choice Award for Midnight Madness.[3] At TIFF, the film also secured a worldwide streaming deal with Netflix.[4] It was released on the streaming service on March 20, 2020, to generally positive reviews from critics.


Goreng wakes in a concrete cell on level 48. His cellmate Trimagasi explains that they are in "the pit", a tower-style holding facility. Once per day, food arrives on "the platform"—a solid slab of unspecified material—that lowers from level 0, stopping for two minutes on each level. Prisoners can only eat while the platform is stopped on their level, and are subjected to fatal temperatures if they keep any food. The lower the level, the less food left on the platform. Prisoners are randomly reassigned to a new level each month. Trimagasi reveals that when assigned to level 132, he and his former cellmate cannibalized someone who had fallen down. One day, a woman named Miharu rides down the platform. Trimagasi explains she descends the pit once a month to search for her child. It is revealed that Goreng volunteered to spend six months in the facility in exchange for a college diploma, while Trimagasi is serving a year-long sentence for manslaughter.

Over the first month, they become friends, but on the day of the room shuffle, they are reassigned to level 171. Expecting there to be no food, Trimagasi ties up Goreng while the latter sleeps. Trimagasi explains his plans to use Goreng's flesh to sustain them both. On the eighth day, Trimagasi begins cutting into Goreng's flesh. Miharu arrives, attacks Trimagasi, and frees Goreng, who fatally stabs Trimagasi. Encouraged by Miharu, Goreng eats Trimagasi's flesh and subsequently becomes haunted by hallucinations of Trimagasi. By the end of the month Goreng is still shown eating pieces of Trimagasi's decomposing corpse.

In the third month, Goreng awakes on level 33 with a woman named Imoguiri and her dog, Ramesses II. Imoguiri appears to know Goreng, but he does not recognize her. It is revealed that Imoguiri was the administration official who had interviewed Goreng before sending him to the pit, but claims to be unaware of its nature and volunteered after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Imoguiri only eats every other day, letting her dog eat on the days that she does not. She tries to convince the pair below them to also be conservative with their rations. One day, Miharu arrives injured, and Goreng and Imoguiri nurse her back to health. The following day, Imoguiri is distraught to find that Miharu has killed and eaten her dog. Goreng intervenes, breaking up a fight between the women. After Miharu leaves, Goreng mentions her child to Imoguiri, who says there are no children in the pit and Miharu came alone. She reveals that Miharu is an actress, aspiring to be the "Asian Marilyn Monroe", and that the item she brought to the pit was a ukulele. She also reveals that there are 200 levels in total. The following month, he awakes on level 202 to find that Imoguiri has hanged herself. Goreng eats her flesh to survive, plagued with hallucinations of his former cellmates.

In the fifth month, Goreng is assigned to level 6. His new cellmate, Baharat, attempts to climb to the levels above with a rope, convinced the pair above will help. The pair deceives him, making him lose his rope, and almost fall to his death. Estimating that there are 250 levels, Goreng convinces Baharat to ride the platform down with him and ration the food. Going down the first 50 levels they do not let anyone get food, arguing that they will get food the next day. They attack and seemingly kill a couple of protesters. Fellow prisoner Sr. Brambang recognizes Baharat, and berates him for being too aggressive. He gives them tips on how to conduct themselves on the rest of the way down, and convinces them to send a symbolic message to the administration by leaving a single panna cotta untouched.

As they descend further, they hand out portions to the prisoners, attacking those who refuse to cooperate. They eventually encounter Miharu being attacked and try to save her, but she is killed and they are left severely injured after an extended fight with Miharu's attackers. Goreng and Baharat continue to descend, eventually reaching level 333, where Goreng notices a child—Miharu's daughter—hiding under the bed. He gets off the platform with Baharat, only to have it continue downward, leaving them behind and in distress. Goreng tries to convince Baharat to feed the girl the panna cotta, saying the girl should be the message instead. Baharat repeats the panna cotta is the message over and over, but eventually changes his mind and gives the girl the dessert, repeating the girl is the message.

Goreng dreams of Baharat telling him "the girl is the message". He awakens to find that Baharat has bled to death. The child and an injured Goreng slowly get on the platform when it arrives at their level. They descend to the bottom of a dark pit, where he once again hallucinates Trimagasi. Trimagasi tells Goreng that his journey is over, but Goreng explains to Trimagasi that he must bear the message. Trimagasi replies that "the message requires no bearer". Realizing Trimagasi is right, Goreng gets off the platform and the two walk away, watching as Miharu's daughter ascends.


Cast and crew members at a press conference in October 2019.


The film was produced by Basque Films alongside Mr. Miyagi Films and Plataforma la película AIE, with the participation of RTVE and ETB and support from ICAA, the Basque administration and ICO.[5] Shooting lasted for six weeks.[6]

Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia says the film's key message is that "humanity will have to move towards the fair distribution of wealth", with an exploration of the importance of individual initiative in driving political change that critiques both capitalism and socialism.[7] The film script is based on a theatre script by David Desola and Pedro Rivero, to which more action and physical elements were added to make it more suitable for a film.[7] "Extensive" rewriting was required to convert the unproduced theater script into a film script. The director said it was a "torturous ordeal", as the writers defended their artistic vision and did not want some of the changes to be made.[8]

The concrete prison cells were built for the production in a Red Cross facility in a port in Bilbao. The director asked for cells that looked "economical, robust, [and] impregnable", which emphasized a sense of architectural and engineering proportion.[7] Only two tiers of concrete cells were built; the appearance of many tiers of cells extending above and below each cell (visible from the hole in the center of each cell) was added in post-production using visual effects.[7] The director says the vertical tower of cells "represents the dehumanized coldness of the Vertical Self-Management Center".[8]

The director states that the film's lavish "food was treated as another character in the story, one that is aesthetically antagonistic to the architecture of the prison."[8] The luxurious displays of gourmet food were presented on "Versailles worthy tableware" to depict "excessive, almost erotic, opulent desire" that is eventually "desecrated" once the near-empty platform reaches the abject, starving inmates on the lower levels.[8]

The director acknowledges the film can be difficult to watch, but he says the purpose of this approach is to generate discussion and debate by viewers about the political messages.[7] When asked about the film's brutal violence and cannibalism, the director said the prison's "hole is a reflection of our society, [so] it couldn’t hide the violence. It had to show how we rip each other apart".[8]

The film uses two actors who are cast against type; Iván Massagué and Antonia San Juan, who are known for their comedic roles, were chosen to lighten the film's weighty subject by adding "humour, irony, and surrealism".[7] The film was shot chronologically, as the main actor Iván had to lose 12 kg (26 lbs) over the six-week shoot to show his physical deterioration.[8]


The film was released in Spain on 8 November 2019 by Festival Films.[1] The Platform was released onto Netflix internationally (including Spain) on 20 March 2020. In July 2020, Netflix revealed the film had in-fact been watched by 56 million households over its first four weeks of release, among the most-ever for one of their original films.[9]


Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 80% based on 98 reviews, with an average rating of 7.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "While it may feel muddled at times, The Platform is an inventive and captivating dystopian thriller."[10] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 73 out of 100, based on 15 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[11]

Norman Wilner of Now correctly predicted that the film would win the People's Choice Award, giving it a five-N rating and writing that the film "has everything: low comedy, political allegory, left-field twists, crowd-pleasing surprises, spectacular violence, sadism, altruism, and yet more spectacular violence, all wrapped up in a high-concept horror film that moves the premise of Cube into a merciless vertical structure. It’s grotesque and compelling, like grindhouse [Luis] Buñuel. And it never blinks."[12]

Amy Nicholson of Variety wrote that "the film’s minimalist fury feels like the plays of Samuel Beckett. Massagué and Eguileor are up to being in a zesty Waiting for Godot. And Eguileor's nasty, delightful, occasionally tender performance feels like an audition to play a Bond villain, or perhaps the Spanish resurrection of Hannibal Lecter."[2]

The film garnered new reviews after a surge in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sam Jones in The Guardian suggested it was "the perfect parable for life in the time of the coronavirus and a visceral investigation of how a crisis can expose not only the stratification of human society but also the immutable strands of selfishness coded into our DNA."[13]


Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2020 7th Feroz Awards Best Drama Film Nominated [14]
Best Director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia Nominated
Best Screenplay David Desola, Pedro Rivero Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Antonia San Juan Nominated
Best Film Poster Nominated
Best Trailer Nominated
12th Gaudí Awards Best Non-Catalan Language Film Nominated [15]
Best Screenplay David Desola, Pedro Rivero Nominated
Best Visual Effects Mario Campoy, Irene Río, Iñaki Madariaga Won
75th CEC Medals Best New Director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia Nominated [16][17]
34th Goya Awards Best Original Screenplay David Desola, Pedro Rivero Nominated [18][19]
Best New Director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia Nominated
Best Special Effects Mario Campoy, Iñaki Madariaga Won
29th Actors and Actresses Union Awards Best Film Actress in a Secondary Role Antonia San Juan Nominated [20][21]
33rd European Film Awards Best Visual Effects Iñaki Madariaga Won [22]


In May 2023, Netflix reported the beginning of filming of a sequel with Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia returning as director and starring Hovik Keuchkerian and Milena Smit.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "El Hoyo - El 8 de noviembre en cines" (in Spanish). 10 September 2019. Archived from the original on 3 December 2020. Retrieved 13 January 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d Amy Nicholson, "Toronto Film Review: 'The Platform'" Archived 4 December 2019 at the Wayback Machine. Variety, 10 September 2019.
  3. ^ Jessica Wong, "TIFF 2019: Jojo Rabbit captures TIFF People's Choice Award" Archived 30 December 2019 at the Wayback Machine. CBC News, 15 September 2019.
  4. ^ Jeremy Kay, "Netflix takes world on TIFF Midnight Madness hit 'The Platform'" Archived 15 September 2019 at the Wayback Machine. Screen Daily, 10 September 2019.
  5. ^ "RTVE Somos Cine 'El Hoyo', película participada por RTVE, premio del Público del Festival de Toronto". RTVE. 16 September 2019.
  6. ^ "La producción española 'El hoyo', opera prima de Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, triunfa en Sitges 2019". Audiovisual451. 14 October 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Rivera, Alfonso (16 October 2020). "Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia • Director of The Platform". Cineuropa. Archived from the original on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Aguilar, Carlos (3 April 2020). ""It Had to Show How We Rip Each Other Apart": Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia on His Vertical Class-Warfare Netflix Dystopia The Platform". Filmmaker. Archived from the original on 7 April 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  9. ^ Shaw, Lucas (15 July 2020). "These Are Netflix's 10 Most Popular Original Movies". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 15 July 2020. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  10. ^ "The Platform (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Archived from the original on 21 March 2020. Retrieved 1 March 2024.
  11. ^ "The Platform Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 16 July 2020. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  12. ^ Norman Wilner, "TIFF review: The Platform (El Hoyo)" Archived 14 September 2019 at the Wayback Machine. Now, 1 September 2019.
  13. ^ Jones, Sam (16 April 2020). "What Netflix's The Platform tells us about humanity in the coronavirus era". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 16 April 2020. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  14. ^ "Lista completa de ganadores de los Premios Feroz 2020". abcplay. 17 January 2020 – via ABC.
  15. ^ Silvestre, Juan (20 January 2020). "Premios Gaudí: 'La hija de un ladrón' y 'Los días que vendrán' acaparan el palmarés". Fotogramas.
  16. ^ "'Dolor y gloria' encabeza las nominaciones en la 75ª edición de las Medallas del Círculo de Escritores Cinematográficos". Audiovisual451. 3 January 2020.
  17. ^ "'Dolor y gloria' logra cinco Medallas del Círculo de Escritores Cinematográficos". Audiovisual451. 21 January 2020.
  18. ^ Silvestre, Juan (5 December 2019). "Premios Gaudí: 'La hija de un ladrón', 'Los días que vendrán' y 'La inocencia', entre las más nominadas". Fotogramas.
  19. ^ Hernández, Clara (26 January 2020). "Lista de ganadores de la gala de los Premios Goya 2020, donde 'Dolor y gloria' triunfó". Woman – via El Periódico de Catalunya.
  20. ^ Silvestre, Juan (11 February 2020). "XXIX Premios de la Unión de Actores y Actrices: Lista completa de finalistas". Fotogramas.
  21. ^ "Los repartos de 'Dolor y gloria' y 'Estoy vivo' triunfan en los 29º Premios de la Unión de Actores y Actrices". Audiovisual451. 10 March 2020.
  22. ^ Roxborough, Scott (12 December 2020). "'Another Round' Wins 2020 European Film Awards". The Hollywood Reporter.
  23. ^ "Netflix confirma la secuela de la película española más vista en la historia de la plataforma". Cinemanía. 11 May 2023 – via

External links[edit]