I enjoy looking at science-fiction from the past. However, I think it’s important to keep an eye on what is happening in the present. I will start to look at some of the people who are making an impact on today’s world, whether it be books, movies or television. So, if you have any recommendations or maybe working on something yourself, then please let me know in the comments below.
My recommendation for today is a Spanish science-fiction horror film by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia. I watched The Platform, known in Spanish as El Hoyo (The Hole) on Netflix. I will say the dubbing is pretty second-rate and I would recommend you watch it with the subtitles on as there is some superb acting in this film, which deserves the acknowledgement. I was just going to review this film as a whole but I just want to introduce it without going too much away. It’s only because I think this film is a personal experience and as much as we are all watching the same story, I can promise you, our minds will be in very different places. This also gives me a chance to try writing in a different way and try something new.
“There are three types of people. Those at the top, those and the bottom and those who fall.” are the first words Goreng Iván Massagué hears as he wakes up in a concrete cell. Across from him on another bed is a small older man with wispy grey hair who tells Goreng they are both in the hole. He explains the food they eat will be the leftovers from above, leaving the people below with what they leave. Goreng looks into the hole in the floor and sees the levels for himself, which seems never-ending. The man says his name is Trimagasi Zorion Eguileor and it turns out they are going to be living together for a full month in these conditions. A large block of concrete eventually lowers from the hole above and slowly reveals a slab of food which becomes a table in the middle of the cell. Trimagasi starts to stuff his face with as much food as possible, without any concern that Goreng is watching him and the fact the food is spoiled, half-eaten and looks disgusting. Goreng takes an apple from the table for later. Suddenly the room starts to heat up rapidly. Trimagasi tells Goreng if he keeps the apple, they will both be burnt to a cinder. Goreng takes the apple from his pocket and throws it to the lower level and the temperature returns to normal.
The pair slowly start to open up to one other and Trimagasi tells Goreng that he and a former cellmate has to eat one of the inmates that had fallen down the shaft. In the hole, food is everything Goreng will have to make some undesirable choices if he wants to survive. Each person is allowed to bring one item into the hole, Goreng chose a book, Don Quixote. Goreng also says he volunteered to go into the hole, to quit smoking and get a diploma. Trimagasi is in there for manslaughter, after throwing his television out of his window and killing a man. The reason he threw the TV out of the window after watching a commercial about a self-sharpening knife, the same kind of knife that he has brought into the hole with him.
As the days pass, Goreng accepts the situation and starts to eat the food and becomes comfortable in his new world. One day a woman is sat on the table as it is lowered down into the cell. Trimagasi says she does it once a month, in search of her son and she won’t bother them if they leave her alone. As the table disappears and reaches the next level, the woman is attacked by the other prisoners. Goreng looks down concerned for her but she soon appears with blood all over her face. It turns out she has managed to kill her attackers. More days pass and Goreng and Trimagasi manage to slip into actual comfort on Level 48, enjoying enjoy each other’s company and becoming friends. Goreng lies in bed and Trimagasi asks him if he believes in God and if he will pray for them both. Tramagasi tells him that gas will be released into the cell soon and they will wake up on another level. Trimagasi is fond of Goreng and hopes they end up in a safe place because he is reaching his second to last month inside the hole and he enjoys his company.
Goreng wakes up tied to his bed and his mouth gagged. Tramagasi approaches him, with his self-sharpening knife by his side.
Well, I hope that interested you enough to go and watch The Platform. Like I said earlier, I think you need to watch this film to truly get the point of it and I don’t think any review can achieve that. First of all, the look and aesthetic of this film reminds me of a piece of art. As someone who doesn’t understand modern art completely, I do like visiting these galleries hoping to find something I can appreciate. It’s reminiscent of the Brutalist movement of the 1970s and ’80s that I still find appealing in modern culture. I thought the score by Aranzazu Calleja was so chilling and wonderfully composed. La Plataforma is my favourite from the soundtrack and has been added to my library, have a listen, it’s brilliant. A composer I hope manages to break into the mainstream in the future. It’s easy to look at modern blockbusters and say that computer-generated effects have ruined the industry somehow, but? This film is only achievable with those advances in technology and the way the director uses it sparingly, actually makes CGI more valuable in my opinion. I guess this brings us down to the story of the film. I can only say, it makes you think about the things that make you feel uncomfortable with life and think about the human condition. I guess it also makes you realise how we should try and change attitudes toward wealth and greed. I think this is science-fiction at its best because it means something to everyone and we can all take something away from it, regardless of who you are and where you come from. I can only see good things in the future for the director, Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia and I can’t wait to see what he delivers next.