The Platform, a.k.a El Hoyo, is a 2019 Spanish science-fiction, psychological-thriller on Netflix. The Platform movie cast includes Iván Massagué, Antonia San Juan, Zorion Eguileor, Emilio Buale Coka, and Alexandra Masangkay in the leading roles. The film is based in a vertical prison where food is lowered top to bottom, and each subsequent level eats the leftovers of the floor above. The movie sounds a lot like Snowpiercer, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, it’s not. It’s actually more like Cube but very original in its concept. Do give it a watch and thanks for the recommendation Momchil. Here’s the detailed plot analysis and the ending of the film The Platform explained; spoilers ahead.
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Here are links to the key aspects of the movie:
Don Quixote Meaning: Who is he?
The colloquial meaning of Don Quixote is someone determined to change what is wrong, but who does it in a way that is silly or not practical. This is a reference to Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. Don Quixote aims to be a knight like the characters he admires in old stories, but when he tries to be like them, he makes many stupid mistakes.
Source – Don Quixote
The book: How is Don Quixote related to The Platform movie?
Well, this is the book that the protagonist of the film brings with him to the Hole. Imagine Arnold or Silvester of the 90s playing the character in this film. You can imagine how flawless their execution would become? They’d emerge from this with a light scar on their foreheads. When Goreng decides to take matters into his own hands, the plan is clumsy and not really thought through. He barely scrapes through, hoping to make a difference.
The Platform: What is The Hole? What are the Rules?
The Hole is a prison with hundreds of vertical levels. Each level has 2 prisoners. Level 0 lowers a tray full of carefully prepared food, which stops at each level for a few minutes. Each floor consumes the leftovers of the level above. If someone retains food after the platform leaves, then the level will either heat up and burn them or go cold and freeze them to death. Each person is inserted randomly at a level for a month, then drugged and relocated to another random level. If the person can last a set duration, he/she is released.
Why are people being sent to the Hole? What’s the Diploma?
There seem to be at least two ways to get to the Hole. One is by choice, the other is because you have committed a crime. Survivors are given a Diploma if they survive their tenure. Going by the floating platform and the tech behind it, we can assume this is set in a far future where the diploma earns you a good living. The Hole is a shortcut to get to that diploma, however, it appears no one really leaves the Hole alive.
The movie starts with the lines, “There are three kinds of people. Those at the top, those at the bottom, and those who fall”. The ones at the top are representative of people with wealth and power. The ones at the bottom are the impoverished strata who are fed upon. And the ones who fall are the ones who either fall literally or metaphorically – people who die trying.
What is The Platform movie’s meaning?
The film shows that people who rise from the bottom to the top continue to treat people below without mercy. They know very well that the next time around they could be back in the lower levels, yet the nearsightedness only guides them to think about themselves and for that moment (month). This is the reason for the suffering in the Hole. It is not very different from how things work in real life. Someone who has been taken advantage of, many a time, does not hesitate to take advantage of another just to get ahead, and as a species we suffer.
The food is prepared keeping in mind it is for all the levels. But the people on top overeat. Only if every level cooperated with each other, can everyone survive. As mentioned in the film, this is an experiment to understand if there ever will be a spontaneous sense of solidarity. Meaning, if all of a sudden, every level would just unite to survive. The protagonist also mentions that if that solidarity emerged, they’d know how to prevent it from happening on the outside. This is to say that any hierarchical structure has the few people on top enjoy privileges while the masses below struggle. This is leveraged by many governments to draw things in their favour, and a spontaneous sense of solidarity would never be good for business. The film Parasite is another film based on the top down structure of the society.
The Platform: Who is Goreng?
Goreng, the protagonist, has volunteered to be in the Hole to get his hands on that diploma. He claims his favourite food is snails, which metaphysically represent patience, but also being emotionally distracted. He starts off on level 48.
The Platform: Who is Trimagasi?
Trimagasi is an old man who’s committed the crime of accidentally killing someone by tossing his TV out of his window in a fit of rage. He chose The Hole over prison. He’s been on many other levels and has killed and eaten his floor-mate as there was no other option down there for food.
The Platform: Who is Miharu?
Miharu is a mentally disturbed woman who has been in the Hole for 10 months. We don’t know what actually happened to Miharu, she is an example of one who has fallen in the metaphorical sense. She doesn’t really talk to anybody, but Trimagasi claims that she’s looking for her daughter. He also mentions that Miharu murders her floor-mate, hoping to be reunited with her daughter in the following month. Each month, she descends – searching, hunting. Now, this information is mostly urban legend as she doesn’t bother speaking to anyone. So it’s unlikely to be the truth.
When she came to the Hole, Miharu was an actress with no children. Her choice of item to bring with her was a ukulele. It appears that the initial months were very harsh on her, and she lost her mind. She’s vengeful and has become a self-appointed disrupter of the system. Anyone who gets in her way, she kills.
The Platform: Who is Imoguiri?
Imoguiri was an employee of the Administration for 25 years. She interviewed the people who were sent to the Hole. Unfortunately, she developed cancer and lost her fight against it after 3 years. Hence, she decided to be sent to the Hole to try and be of help. While she thinks she knew everything about the Hole, it’s gruesome nature is a surprise to her as well. Imoguiri hopes to instill a spontaneous sense of solidarity to save the Hole’s residents. In the past it was she who selected both Goreng and Miharu for the Hole.
The Platform: Plot Explained
Before we get to ending of The Platform, let’s quickly run through the plot to get a perspective of The Platform movie.
Goreng wakes up on level 48 and meets his floor-mate, Trimagasi. He initially attempts to get a system of rationing the food but fails miserably and gives up. Trimagasi explains that the people above have a full stomach and have time to contemplate, which causes them to commit suicide because there might be no way out. Goreng sees Miharu descending and tries to help her when the men below assault her, but understands that she’s well equipped with self-defense when she guts the two men.
The next month, Goreng wakes up in level 171 and finds himself tied to the bed. Trimagasi explains that hunger makes people go mad and that he will be kind enough to feed on small pieces of flesh from Goreng, and then tend to his wounds. A week in, Trimagasi begins cutting Goreng but is attacked and killed by Miharu, who’s passing through. She then treats Goreng’s injuries and feeds him Trimagasi’s flesh to keep him alive. Miharu knows Goreng tried to help her, and that’s why she’s being kind to him.
The following month, Goreng wakes up in level 33 with his new floor-mate, Imoguiri, who unsuccessfully tries to instill solidarity in the levels below to ration the food. Miharu passes on the platform unconscious, and they nurse her. Unfortunately, Miharu wakes up at night and feasts on Imoguiri’s dog. Sadly, the sausage dog does turn out to be more sausage than dog. The month passes by eventlessly, and Goreng uses fear to force the level below ration food, but that doesn’t percolate all the way down.
In the next month, Goreng wakes up in level 202 and sees that Imoguiri has hung herself. She assumed there were only 200 levels, but she realizes that she had the wrong information despite working for the Administration. Although, she doesn’t kill herself because of that. She was anyway suffering from cancer, and 202 is going to have no food. She leaves her dead body so that Goreng could survive the month feeding on her. Goreng does just that, and another month passes by painfully.
Goreng wakes up in Level 6 in the following month with a new floor-mate, a man name Baharat, who’s a man of faith. Baharat tries to climb his way to the top placing way too much faith in humanity and gets literally sh*t on. After that, Goreng convinces Baharat that they should just force the rationing by going down on the platform and using power and fear to break the system. They decide that they will go down 50 floors and start handing out food only from the 51st floor. The ones on top have had full bellies. Goreng mentions that he counted the time taken for the platform to shoot back up and calculates about 250 levels (he doesn’t account for the platform not stopping on floors with no one left alive, so there are way more floors). The remainder of the film is how the descent of Goreng and Baharat pans out. Sadly, not too well, read on.
Who is the man in the wheelchair?
In the previous months, Baharat has shared a floor with the man in the wheelchair, he refers to him as a wise-man. There is an uncanny calm to this person. He points out that the two of them are wasting much of the food by standing on it. Despite the circumstances, he advises that dialogue must come first, and only if that fails, must they strike. There’s more about him in the section – The Platform’s Ending Explained – Alternate Theory.
Why is the panna cotta the message?
The wise man explains that the Administration has no conscience, but there is a slim chance that the people working on level 0 do. He suggests that a message is sent up with a symbol, a delicious, perfectly presented dish, untouched. If the people working got a meal like that sent back from the Hole, they would understand the message – that there has been a spontaneous sense of solidarity. He suggests the luxurious panna cotta should be the message.
Goreng and Baharat see a lot of success in forcefully rationing the food. They use dialogue and violence to do this in a clumsy, quixotic manner. In one of the lower levels, they see Miharu being attacked and stabbed to death. This scene is significant to explain the ending of The Platform. The two floor-mates turn out far too strong for Goreng and Baharat. While they kill the blade-wielding floor residents, they barely make it back alive on to the platform. They then descend to lower levels which just has dead people.
The Platform: Ending Explained: Primary Theory
It’s hard to explain the ending of The Platform because it’s way too open-ended, so I’d like to put theories to bring closure. My principal theory is that both Goreng and Baharat die from the wounds they receive trying to save Miharu. Everything that happens after that is only inside Goreng’s mind as he fades. They reach the metaphorical level of 333, which gives the devilish outlook to the Administration of performing their horrible experiment with 666 people. Goreng tries to disrupt the system but sadly dies trying. An analogy would be all those people who gave their lives to plan Hitler’s assassination, but in the end, the mission failed.
Floor 333 was conveniently uncanny. The level didn’t heat up or freeze over when the pana cotta was retained after the platform moved down. There is no reason for the rule to be broken for just one floor. There is a child who is entirely unscared and looks too clean to be in the bottom-most level. Even if this is Miharu’s kid, she comes down once a month, there is no way that one trip is enough to keep her child fed and healthy the whole month. Each month the prisoners are shuffled, so Administration knows well about the existence of the kid. They have no reason to have allowed this child into the Hole despite their published rule – no one under 16. If the kid served the Administration a specific purpose, the film would have hinted upon the nature of that purpose, but it doesn’t. And here’s my favourite argument. Did you see the speed at which that platform traveled back up? It doesn’t slow down even on the higher floors else the prisoners would get on top of it and escape. If the platform, with the child, came to a halt abruptly on Level 0 from that speed, the kid would just become pulp. What I’m trying to say is that there is no salvation for the characters in the film.
Who is the little girl? Why is she the message?
Goreng owes his life to Miharu as she saved him from Trimagasi. But he’s unable to return the favour, and she’s stabbed to death. He is left fatally wounded and dies with regret in his heart. Regret for not completing his mission, regret for not being able to save Miharu. In his dying mind, this manifests as the daughter of Miharu, who is indeed in the Hole. Goreng only imagines the child. A child represents purity, and Goreng’s consciousness makes her the mission. The ending of The Platform sees Goreng divinely descend with the child. After that, he gets off the platform and allows the child to ascend, as she is the message and needs no messenger. The Platform film’s ending is metaphorical of Goreng dying in peace, believing that he made a difference, and walks away into nothingness. But the sad reality is that the Hole continues on inflicting pain on its inmates.
The Platform Ending Explained: Alternate Theory
This is not a theory about just The Platform movie ending, but the entire movie is a representation of purgatory. The 666 people in the Hole are being punished for their sins. The diploma that they earn by staying in the Hole long enough is their salvation. But most people are shown to not last and thereby fall. The metaphor of the snails, and purging its impurities is Goreng’s atonement. The Platform is his journey of repenting for his sins by sacrificing himself for the survival of others and, finally, something pure, a child. The man on the wheelchair can be seen as God (or the Devil) and that would explain his uncanny calmness.
What did you think about the film, what are your theories about the film and its ending?
Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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