Movies

The Platform

The Platform Ending Explained: Angels, The Message, And Redemption Can Be Hell

The Platform is symbolically rich in biblical and social themes. Here are all your ending questions answered.

For those who have already seen The Platform released over the weekend on Netflix, you know Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s film is a visceral experience. It demands something from you as you watch. You can’t sit and munch popcorn while taking in the wet slurp and crunch of near-empty bones and previously chewed chunks of food. It is designed to put the viewer in captivity with the prisoners for better or worse(mostly worse). The world of The Platform is a confusing, terrible place. Full of degradation, cruelty, death, and survival there is nothing there for those who choose self over the community. It rings even more true than when I first saw it at Fantastic Fest this past year.

The post-COVID-19 reality we now all find ourselves in easily could have been forecast by the film. Supplant 333 floors of a stacked prison system with grocery aisles and you have the same thing. Whole shelves are picked clean as people prepare to shelter in place with their 200 packages of toilet paper, 600 canned goods, and 75 pounds of meat. Just like in The Platform, for the most part, it isn’t gluttony, it is fear and savagery. Two of the more base human emotions they bring out the worst in us. As easy as it is to compare The Platform to a simple social allegory like Snowpiercer which did a similar thing with a super long train, the mysteries of The Platform go much deeper.

The Platform is a fairly simple story at first glance. A man enters a prison system run by a totalitarian agency and everyone in the prison eats only what is left from the floors above them as the platform lowers each day. If you survive you get what you contracted with the agency for. It might be a college degree or a prison sentence expunged. Each floor has two people living on them and it is survival of the fittest. A desperate woman searches for her child and our protagonist Goreng begins to understand there are somethings more important than simple survival and success. Things are far more complex than they seem, however, in this thought experiment brought to life.

Nothing You See Is Real World

The biggest truth to wrap your brain around is no one is alive in the traditional sense. Whatever happened to these people to cause them to end up in the stacked jail it happened in the real world. Goreng says he chose to be there for six months allowing himself the opportunity to get a college degree debt-free. In a sense, he did choose, just not the way we think. If you view the prison as purgatory with Heaven and Hell as 0 and 334 his decision becomes more than a simple sacrifice but rather more akin to suicide.

Everything that happens in between is part of his redemption. It could also be the ultimate test of humanity’s power for good or evil. Everyone has a specific role to play. It is important to note that even Heaven has a hierarchy however with strict rulers and weary laborers. Rather instead of 0 being Heaven, it is life as we know it and each level down is closer to Hell or the literal black pit Goreng finds himself in at the end.

The Clues

Some of the more obvious(pun intended) clues are found in the early moments of the movie. Goreng volunteers to go into the system willingly in exchange for a college degree, or knowledge. Since greed and opportunity are so important the parallel between knowledge and humans fall from the Garden of Eden are apparent. Once Goreng valued knowledge over comfort or safety he established the role he would play within the prison. He represents enlightenment.

The second is Goreng’s first roommate Trimagasi. He is there because of covetous behavior and regret. Doling out personal information like an insurance company giving out meds he explains how he found himself in the hole. He explained he was put in the system for one year because he “accidentally” killed an illegal immigrant by throwing a television out of his window. He threw it out the window because he got suckered by a home shopping host. The minute he bought a knife that was advertised a commercial for an even better knife came on which made him crazy with regret and want.

The lesson of course being, be grateful for what you have and stop being envious of others and possessions. When he explains the mechanics of the platform to Goreng he posits Goreng is lucky for getting a middle floor. Too high up and you have nothing to look forward too and too far down you are forced to do terrible things. In his opinion, humans are hardwired to isolate and categorize themselves. It is us versus them. We are also lazy creatures who become complacent and when faced with less than we are used too we become despondent. Those nearer the middle never have very much but always have enough to survive. Enough keeps them going spiritually and physically.

Trimagasi also represents hate and prejudice as he feels no actual remorse for hurting anyone because they shouldn’t have been there anyway. As the film progresses he is killed by Miharu during a particularly grisly cannibalistic scene. During this scene, he also blames the floors above him for forcing him to mutilate Goreng instead of blaming himself, the knife-wielder. He continues to haunt Goreng throughout the movie including the final scene when they walk off into the darkness together. He represents man’s cruelty. Trimagasi is temptation and once Goreng turns his back on personal triumph and seeks to change his world through the message he stops tormenting Goreng and helps him find redemption in the act of saving the child.

Obviously, Trimagasi is the tester. He is a fallen angel designed to elicit violence and evil. He calls Goreng a snail which is his favorite food. This is no coincidence. He is omniscient not because the VSC told him but because he is a literal demon. 1 Timothy 5:24 talks of the obviousness of sin.

The biggest clue is the bizarre, fanatical, and reverential way the food is prepared and then transported to The Platform. Food represents life and for those on the upper floors, it is a chance to be either greedy or kind. These are criminals or debtors we have been led to believe and their food is prepared so meticulously it is absurd. Especially given the way the food is distributed. Those preparing the food and in charge wear only white and the prisoners only brown further delineating the supposed good from the bad.

Goreng’s second roommate Imoguiri brought her dog Ramesses II. That is a very curious a specific name for a pet. When the dog is killed and eaten by Miharu Goreng finally begins to help Imoguiri with her plan to ration food for those below. Pharoah Ramsess II is widely thought of as a peacemaker and one of the greatest pharaohs of Egypt. Whether he was enamored with himself or was actually that spectacular is open for debate but he is accredited with creating a huge city and brokering peace with the surrounding groups. The dog’s death certainly changed Goreng’s whole trajectory.

It’s All Biblical

Eden is level 0 and those who bite from he apple of knowledge are cast into the pit. More than once in the film apples are used to show kindness and pain. In the beginning, Goreng tries to keep an apple for later breaking the rules. In punishment, their cell becomes unbearably hot. Later in the film, Goreng throws an apple to his final roommate Baharat. The dark pit is a clear visual representation of Hell with 333 levels in between. 333 is half of the number of the beast 666.

Goreng eats human flesh in a form of bloody unholy communion and later the pages of his book. He is just a prophet however and not the Messiah as many inmates question on his way down to the lowest level. The child is the Messiah and represents hope as she is lifted on the platform to the 0 in a flood of white light. The platform is an altar and the child is the offering.

It May Be All For Naught

Just as Trimagasi tells Goreng once he eats human flesh he becomes one with their spirit when he eats the pages of his book Don Quixote he becomes the stubborn character destined to tilt at windmills forever. The child may not have the intended effect on the cooks of level 0 and nothing will change. After all, humans are a corruptible bunch.

Did Miharu Have A Child?

If you buy into the theory that she is Mary, the child was born to an unbelieving and cruel world. She initially went into the system wanting fame but found her higher purpose in her child. We know she was raped more than once so it would not be unreasonable to assume she became pregnant and had a child while in the prison. Time means nothing to those in charge and who knows how long she agreed to be there. It is interesting to note she chose as her personal item a ukelele. An instrument which could be a symbol for a harp. It is also yet another art form to be revered with the book being the second.

If The Platform shows us anything it is that humanity sucks. We are grasping hands hoarding for fear or vengeance. Paralyzed by our own stupidity we make choices that don’t better ourselves or others. It is what makes us do things like bring surfboards and money into prison. Innocent dogs get slaughtered because we are too selfish to leave them with someone to love them and make two naked old men in an inflatable pool fight over watermelon. Not since Gummo have I been so uncomfortable with food and water. The Platform is a deep movie with meanings obvious and obtuse. It is an uncomfortable truth that lurks in the back of our minds. It is also a timely warning to care for your fellow man. If you are bored with Netflix, find the best stuff on Tubi here.

11 comments

  1. Why did Trimagasi call Miharu a lunatic, and said she has no “Father” and no “child”.

    What was his point of saying “she has no “father” although Miharu never even mentioned it?

    Reply
  2. Thank you Tracy for being so smart. The media just says this is about the evils of capitalism, I’m over here like, really? That’s what you got out of this? How could the spiritual connotations be so ignored? There’s 666 prisoners for crying out loud.

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    • I think both readings are totally valid.

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      • It’s definitely critical of capitalism early on with the references to class systems and a ruling government that cares little about the people they claim to provide for, with the privileged few having rose-tinted glasses when looking below (represented by the government employee believing it wasn’t even close to as bad as it was, thinking she would be fine taking her fucking dog as her one item lmao); but it’s also critical of socialism later when, in several instances, the characters try to enforce the rationing. First attempt leads to complete failure and quickly giving up, second attempt barely gets anywhere using intimidation (probably only reached a bit lower with food, but not even close to the bottom levels. Which is how I view Democratic Socialism. It does help a few people, but it doesn’t serve as a true answer to humanity’s problems or as a real alternative to capitalism), and then they hjust end up killing half (or more) of the people on the way down trying to completely enforce it. Somewhat similar to how many historical implementations of “full” socialism have turned out, with many just turning into bootleg capitalism overtime, and the extreme attempts leading to genocide and the ruling class still living in luxury while the (fearful, compliant) people get little to nothing.
        I don’t think most of this is actually relevant to the movie though, just my personal observations. The creator himself said it wasn’t meant to send any sort of political message, it just has some nuanced criticism of politics overall that plays a very small role in the film.
        Outside of the obvious biblical meanings and references, I’m pretty sure the film has more to do with the failures of human nature and the fact, no matter what structure we try and think up, there will always be suffering. Because, ultimately, we’re ruled by our own fear and greed. It’s all very metaphorical and you can still take the same messages from it without directly

        equating it to religion (though, obviously, religion is relevant with every single character introduced either representing something biblical, or talking about religion/god. Some of it is kind of shoehorned in and not nuanced at all tbh. Like wheelchair guy, who definitely would not survive long but has apparently been there for months unscathed and looks very healthy, obviously representing either God himself or Lucifer. Every character we see that has been there a long time, other than the mother and our protagonist, looks way too healthy. And the little girl probably represents a Messiah, assuming she wasn’t JUST a hallucination. But the fact we already had one character that would not survive and multiple impossibly healthy characters, before our “hero” who definitely died to his attackers near the end, implies she was more than a figment of the main characters imagination. Also 666 prisoner limit lol. Which honestly isn’t that much and they all could have easily been fed. But again, pretty sure none of it is real and is just purgatory, hell, or some sort if simulation because all the characters are way too convenient and metaphorical to be real).

        Reply
  3. Thank you for writing this article. I watched the first part of “The Platform” and was intrigued at what was obviously intended to be an allegory for the human condition. However, I found the violence very confronting and as soon as I realised that the dog was inevitably going to be a victim I just could not watch any more (I have always preferred the company of dogs to that of humans). But I still wanted to fully understand the symbolism. I quickly recognised the references to hierarchy, inequality and greed that are endemic to society, but I hadn’t picked up the religious references until I read you article.

    Reply
    • How weak-minded can someone be to not be able to watch a movie for fear of watching a dog die?

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  4. Great review, and if you think about how you said theres 333 floors and that’s half of 666 it actually is 666, there’s 333 floors with 2 people to a floor equaling 666. Also I was thinking also about the scene where Goreng dreams about Miharu and him partaking in intercourse that could potentially symbolize lust. Thia movie has every single one of the 7 deadly sins. Truly a masterpiece of this decade

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    • This*

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  6. I can write a whole lot of things about the message of the movie but this is the extract which I think.

    Miharu – She is “mother earth” which people are trying to f*** and she is trying to find humanity which doesnt exist now.

    panna cota – Its kind of preserved religion that people thinks is the correct message and yes the true message is humanity which every major religion agrees. Humanity doesn’t need any bearer and it can go to the administrator in the form of kid at the end saying that the kid who was there at 333 has eaten and still alive. People should not think about saving religion (panna cotta) but they must save humanity (Kid at the end) which is the true message.

    Kid at the end – She is Humanity. Its the real message to all that the people who thinks that something doesn’t exist (Like God, Climate change, etc) but it does and you need to go deep down to find the reality. Despite Baharat’s reluctance, Goreng ask her to feed an untouched panna cotta they had been saving as a “message” for the Administrators at the top. Saving that girls life by feeding panna cota which is suppose to be the message is an act of humanity.

    Light in the end – It’s the light from God that says that you did your bit and its time for people to take action.

    If we think broadly Goreng can be any messanger and book can be any sacred book hence there is no offense here. Important thing is, Goreng tried to convince people to follow the path of Good by helping but people doesn’t understood hence he has taken the route of being strong-hearted and hurt people but to make them understand only. Intention was to keep them away from the greed of using the help of his acquaintance/friend/follower i.e. Baharat.

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