While the little one napped, I watched this mostly talkie action drama.
The Platform is a bit of a social commentary, blended with drama, and some thriller action, with plot and character twists, and rich, while still simple, scenes and settings. The basic synopsis is that we follow an apparent prisoner, Goreng, as he wakes in a strange, seeming prison cell, and starts trying to work things out. He has a single cell mate, Trimagasi, from whom he tries to glean some understanding. Trimagasi responds with "obviously," his favorite word, but little else initially. They spend some time together they start to work out the rules of their situation.
No real spoilers.
There are few rules, it seems. Quickly we see our prisoners share an open cell, with a bed on each end, and a small bathroom on one side. There's eerie illumination, and a hole in the ceiling and floor. Looking through the holes, you can see people above and below, presumably in the same configuration. Once a day, a slab with food on it pauses in the cell, and the prisoners are allowed to eat what they wish. They cannot keep food, or punishment ensues. After a couple minutes, the food moves on to the levels below.
Our hero starts on level 48. It becomes clear that they are given the leftovers from the levels above, and that the levels below receive their leftovers. Goreng wants to take just what he needs, and allow those below the best chance, but Trimagasi gorges, suggesting they may be not always be so lucky with what they receive.
The story evolves around the simplicity of the situation, the social aspect of knowing where you fit in some of the scheme, and investigates the humanity of being part of an unknown community. Through the tale, we learn the different reasons the men are there, and that there are women in there as well, and some of the differences of their beliefs, especially as they change floors periodically. This floor changing happens once a month, and with the same pair, allowing some development of that relationship, for better and worse. There is abundance at the low-numbered levels, and nothing but broken dishes at the high-numbered levels.
The shifting characters banter and fight about if and how resolve to try to make things better, for themselves or the whole prison. This diversity of empathy and experience changes with each changing of the prisoners' level, and engagement with other prisoners. The contrasts and conflicts, and desires shaped by different experiences before and in the prison show that the human condition is not so easily described or discussed.
There was a distracting element while watching the film. As I was watching it while the little napped, I turned on the captioning and lowered the volume. I could hear, but tend to use the captions over volume, especially when trying to keep quiet. The distracting part was that the captioning wasn't even close most of the time. I'm not counting the easier to read, occasionally corrected grammar, or idioms and bits dropped to be able to read at the right pace. I mean the dialog was entirely different in the captioning than the spoken word. This was compounded by the fact that it's a Spanish film, dubbed into English. I'm not sure if there was just no coordination between the teams doing the dub and text translations, or if someone thought these translations were equivalent enough. It was enough that I abandoned the captioning, as the dialog was better, and had with it the tension and drama.
I like the movie, and will probably watch it again, hoping for some Fight Club or Napoleon Dynamite second-look clarity. When the kids aren't around, of course.