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The Platform Film: How the Cinema Work Functions Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Sep 1st, 2022

Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia directs The Platform – 2019, this Spanish social science fiction horror film. The film is set in a vertical tower prison, where the inmates are fed through a platform that begins at the top of the tower and gradually extends down, stopping for a fixed period on each. Since residents at the upper echelons get to eat as much as they want, the scheme invariably leads to tension, as each floor just receives the food scraps from the preceding one.

Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia has a distinct style that combines a strong horror screenplay with humor, irony, and surrealism, allowing the viewer to bear all of the film’s challenging sequences. As a result, the director masterfully combines precise style and exquisite humor to avoid an excessively didactic sound (Aguilar 14). The audience is introduced to a profound parable about the socio-political power of genre cinema by Gaztelu-Urrutia. The unusual approach, in which the director talks of morality and justice despite the unspeakable horrors, starts a progressive and risky proposition to show that a more democratic microcosm is possible.

One pivotal moment demonstrates a person falling from the top floors, losing the fight for food, which undoubtedly shocks the audience and creates significant tension. The trapped occupants do not seem to be bothered except for the protagonist, a real-life prisoner’s dilemma, as they make decisions without understanding what happens above, below, or even inside their cell (The Platform). Such unexpected events and approaches are directly related to my practice in the psychological thriller genre, which helps keep the audience engaged and under the pressure of the events anticipating the next turn of the events.

The specific practice that I am planning to develop is writing a thriller screenplay, which is a challenging field of film and requiring to continuously keeping the audience on the edge of their seat. Thrillers are described by the emotions they evoke in the audience, which include unpredictable suspense and anxiety (Mamet 3). Psychological thrillers frequently include mystery elements, as well as themes of crime, morality, and untrustworthy narrators, through which the ideas are expressed. The concept behind this genre is to portray potentially real-life events through an unreliable storyteller, creating suspense.

The misdirection applied in thrillers might make them even more fascinating as the writer uses readers’ average assumptions to lead them down the wrong road. Another consequence of the genre is split time-frames, such as when a story employs several narrations without referencing a series. The Platform is an excellent example of a psychological thriller as it reaches out to its audience, conveying a particular moral message through the suspense and the mechanics of a lean thriller. The writer successfully gives the statement emphasizing that The Platform provides both an incredible view of what could go wrong and a tiny, welcome reassurance that things will inevitably get better.

Thriller films frequently include various types of mystery and plot depth, which usually incorporates moral messages between the lines of terror and suspense. The lesson the director wants the audience to take away from the film is the story’s central idea of psychological thrillers. It’s the interpretation they’ll make of the story, generally unconsciously, through the social issues and central problems. Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, in my view, effectively conveys the message, leaving them to ponder how civilization works in the midst of one of history’s most catastrophic crises, demonstrating a funhouse mirror reflection of our world (Tallerico 4). Therefore, the hyperbolization of issues described in The Platform highlights why the privileged take as much as they can out of selfish matters.

The thriller genre is often compared to horror films, which are frequently misconceived since they both have elements that would match the descriptions of the other; nevertheless, both types of movies have many fundamental differences. A horror film focuses more on special effects and frightening makeup, while a suspense film has a deeper storyline for an audience that enjoys gore but still wants to be entertained. Although the distinctions between horror and thriller are subtle, they are necessary to understand to effectively apply the elements on the screen. Knowing the difference is especially important for screenwriters and directors, as these elements aid in being a better storyteller by adequately presenting the story to the viewer.

The Platform is a suspenseful psychological thriller that unexpectedly turns extremely violent in its action-packed final act. The film is also reminiscent of the allegory of the long spoons in one of its elements, demonstrating a brutal building with an undefined number of floors (Lee 4). The framework has drawn comparisons to Cube (1997, directed by Natali Vincenzo), Saw (2004, directed by James Wan), and Snowpiercer (2013, directed by Bong Joon-ho), but it also reminds of brutal action movies like The Raid (2011, directed by Gareth Evans). What makes The Platform function in the end is that it is self-contained. It’s not just a mash-up of ideas from other films; it’s a bold piece of genre cinema.

The movie makes a significant contribution to the film industry, becoming increasingly relevant during the time of the pandemic. The Platform delivers its moral message with the mechanics of a lean thriller. The movie is full of theories and moments that can be vigilantly debated, having all chances of becoming a cult classic. It is an astonishingly fitting metaphor for our times, where the audience may reflect on themselves in many despicable aspects of the film.

Works Cited

Aguilar, Carlos. “‘It Had to Show How We Rip Each Other Apart’: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia on His Vertical Class-Warfare Netflix Dystopia the Platform.” Filmmaker Magazine, 2020, Web.

Lee, Benjamin. “The Platform Review – Fiendish Netflix Thriller about a Gory Battle for Food.” The Guardian, 2020, Web.

Mamet, David. “How to Write a Psychological Thriller.” MasterClass, 2020, Web.

Tallerico, Brian. “The Platform Movie Review & Film Summary (2020) | Roger Ebert.” RogerEbert.com, Web.

The Platform. Directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, performed by Iván Massagué, Netflix, 2019.

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