Explained, the ending of Netflix’s The Platform

By Harneet Kaur — ON Apr 10, 2022
The Platform
Goreng (Iván Massagué)

Call it horror, thriller or mystery, but the 2019 Spanish movie, The Platform, is dark and cruel in its storyline. The film is about a Vertical Self-Management Centre, with each floor having its centre cut out for “the platform” to move through, which carries food from the top to the lowest level.

It is presented from the viewpoint of Goreng (Iván Massagué), a new addition in the VSM system and how he deals with the monthly switching of floors and sometimes cellmates.

Proceed with caution readers, there are spoilers ahead.

What does The Platform do?

The platform is made out of a giant rectangular concrete block which descends from the topmost floor filled with an exotic display of food It stops for a set period of time on each floor, giving a chance for the cellmates to eat the food on it, before descending down again until the last level. After that, it travels back up rapidly to the top.

Why is the film a horror-thriller then?

Nothing is ever simple. The system may seem harmless at first, but his initial cellmate, Trimagasi (Zorion Eguileor) reveals that the people on the top floors will eat anything heartily, which makes the food diminish quite quickly as it comes down. This leads to almost no food for the lower levels after a certain point. First at level 48 and then 171, their switches explain the point.

At level 48, we are introduced to the violent Mahiri, who travels down each month to search for her child.

An explanation about the VSM system

Later on, Goreng wakes up on level 33 with Imoguiri (Antonia San Juan), his administrative interviewer, as she explains the motive behind this system. According to her, The Platform contains enough portions to satisfy the requirements of each person in the VSM centre. It’s a prison for criminals as well as for voluntary spontaneous confinement. She chose to voluntarily come in because she is dealing with terminal illness and wanted to look at the system.

When told about Mahiri and her child, she firmly says that no child under 16 is ever admitted to the cells. She keeps on asking the people below to make portions for those below so everyone can have their fill. It proves to be difficult until Goreng threatens those below with defecation. It’s short-lived as next he wakes up in level 202 with the hanged body of Imoguiri. It’s the hardest month for him, being hallucinated by both Trimagasi and Imoguiri’s voices.

The beginning of the revolution on Level 6

Soon after, he wakes up on level 6 with a black man named Baharat and they both formulate a plan to distribute food equally on the levels below them. Armed with makeshift weapons, they guard the food till the 50th level, after which they start distributing it. Whoever tries to take more, they violently back them off, many times killing them too.

They come across the wise man, Sr. Brambang, who tells them both to send a message to the top. They believe the message is the uneaten panna cotta which should be sent back up to show that the people divided the rations. They save it until the last floor, 333, where Goreng and Baharat reach after sustaining injuries while trying to save Mahiri.

On that floor, surprisingly, they find a child, likely Mahiri’s, and give her the panna cotta to eat. In his dreams, he is told by Baharat that the girl is the message.

The ending

In the end, both Goreng and the girl climb on the platform and descend down to the darkness, the end of the pit. Here, Trimaragi tells Goreng that she is the message and it needs no bearer. We see him stepping off the platform and going back with Trimaragi and watching the platform take the girl up.

An open to interpretation ending

No conclusive ending is given by the film. In an exclusive interview with Digital Spy, the director, Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, opens up about the ending. He explains that there might be some reference to capitalism in the movie where the wealthy (top most level) get plenty but the poor (lower levels) get the leftovers and have to fight to survive, often resorting to cannibalism.

When Goreng and Baharat choose to try socialism, they don’t achieve great results as they couldn’t convince anyone to collaborate or share food. They too, end up killing many whom they set out to help. For them, the message is the girl since obviously the administration doesn’t care about the inmates and they have violated their own policy of not admitting anyone under 16.

Nobody really knows whether her being sent changed the mindset of the people at level 0 or not. It’s up to the viewer’s imagination what he makes of it. “At the end of the day, the movie isn’t going to change the world, but it may change the viewer,” Gaztelu-Urrutia added.