The Platform: class commentary

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Photo courtesy of Business Insider

Inmates Goreng (Iván Massagué) and Trimagasi (Zorion Eguileor) as they eat the leftovers from the floors above them in "the platform."

One of Netflix’s newest viral hits, the psychological thriller, The Platform, coincidentally provided a timely commentary on class hierarchy prominent in capitalistic society.

The film follows protagonist Goreng’s journey through ‘the pit,’ a vertical prison. The floors each have a rectangular hole, through which a platform of food is served to the prisoners each day. A feast is prepared daily on the platform and sent down to each floor. Inmates may only eat the leftovers of those above them, and by the time inmates around the 150th floor have the opportunity to eat, not even a single crumb is left. Despite the fact that inmates change floors monthly, which should make them empathetic to those below, greed is prominent, as those on the upper floors gorge themselves.

Although the movie’s central commentary is quite evident – as such, the word obvious is thrown into banter – the film is far from dull. Viewers are can remain engaged as the movie’s fickle, gory plot unfolds as they are prompted to question the ethicality of capitalism and the promotion of the individual in society. Typically, convicts look down on those below them and avoid speaking to those above. In our society, we tend to look down on those in lower socioeconomic classes by deeming them lazy without reflection on the differences in the opportunity they have been born into.

Capitalism provides ‘equal economic opportunity\;’ however, one inherently possesses more or less favorable circumstances than those around them. For those on the first floor, there isn’t the possibility of starvation\; whereas, those on the lower floors commonly resort to cannibalism to survive.

Goreng is shocked that the alteration of floors had not led to the even distribution of food, and wants to change that. If those above ate only what they needed, then those below could as well.

Given the Coronavirus pandemic, it is important that the more fortunate take the time to reflect, to be more grateful, and help to aid those in need. There are also parallels between those on the top floors and those panic buying. Those buying in bulk should only buy what they need, leaving food and supplies for others.