TIFF review: The Platform (El Hoyo)

Spanish film is grotesque and compelling and will probably win the Midnight Madness People's Choice Award


THE PLATFORM (EL HOYO) MM D: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia. Spain. 90 min. Sep 6, 11:59 pm, Ryerson Sep 8, 10 pm, Scotiabank 2 Sep 15, 7:15 pm, Scotiabank 2. Rating: NNNNN


The Platform is going to be a hard one to beat for the Midnight Madness People’s Choice award. It has everything: low comedy, political allegory, left-field twists, crowd-pleasing surprises, spectacular violence, sadism, altruism and yet more spectacular violence, all wrapped up in a high-concept horror movie that moves the premise of Cube into a merciless vertical structure. It’s grotesque and compelling, like grindhouse Buñuel. And it never blinks.

The Pit is a massive dystopian prison with dozens – perhaps hundreds – of levels, each stacked atop the other. Every day, a large platform descends through each level, containing enough food for everyone… if everyone eats the same amount. Of course this does not happen those on the upper levels gorge themselves, leaving the people on the lower levels to starve.

It’s a vivid metaphor, and screenwriters David Desola and Pedro Rivero wring every drop of meaning out of it, establishing a simple premise and complicating it relentlessly with physical challenges and moral complications. Brace yourselves. 

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