Ending Explained is a recurring series in which we explore the finales, secrets, and themes of interesting movies and shows, both new and old.
The Platform isn’t exactly subtle with its anti-capitalist message. Much like Ben Wheatley’s High Rise, the story takes place in a vertical building that serves as a metaphor for class disparity. In this case, the building is a prison where the inmates are forced to share the same descending table of food, but there’s not much left, if anything, by the time it reaches the lower levels.
Those at the top are more privileged and greedy, while those at the bottom are starving and desperate. This doesn’t sit well with Goreng (Iván Massagué), a prisoner who resorts to violence to bring about change. The film’s core socialist ideas are quite heavy-handed and obvious throughout, but the ending is quite strange and ambiguous.
Unlike the other characters in the movie, the little girl is untainted and pure. Not only has she managed to survive, but she’s healthy, and Goreng realizes that she represents the prospect of a better future. When he puts her on the table that ascends to the top of the prison, he does so under the belief that she’ll bring about change and equality someday. It’s too late for him because he’s become a savage barbarian, but the child is innocent.
Of course, how she’ll go about making things better is unclear. Perhaps Goreng hopes that seeing a starving little girl emerge from the bottom floors will cause the privileged elites to have a change of heart and start redistributing the food equally moving forward? Maybe he thinks she’ll grow up among them and inspire change from within. Who knows?
Regardless, the film’s ending suggests that the youth must play an important part in changing the world. Goreng’s murder spree — in which he kills everyone who isn’t willing to ration the food equally — promotes the idea of everyone having to do their part for the greater good. At the same time, the film also acknowledges how some noble causes can become twisted and result in violence breaking out.
But in the grand scheme of things, a brighter future must start from a youthful, grassroots level and continue to inspire future generations. Hopefully, those youngsters will grow up to be compassionate, sensible, and humane people who infiltrate the positions of power and ensure that no member of society ever starves. That’s what the ending proposes, but it isn’t entirely optimistic about the chances of such a thing ever happening.
The little girl being sent to the top is an act of blind faith. A gesture of hope, if you will. There is still the possibility that something bad could happen to her when she arrives, as those at the upper-class levels probably don’t want to give up their excessive way of life just because some child shows up on a table. Chances are she’ll be corrupted, eaten, or even worse.
The Platform mostly adheres to the “Tragedy of the Commons” theory, which proposes that humans will always act in their own self-interest and contrary to the betterment of the collective. In the movie, some people are willing to do their part because they want to see more equality, but most that do so only have a change of heart after Goreng threatens to poop on their food or beat them with a pipe.
By the time the final scene arrives, Goreng has shown that he’s willing to do his part in an effort to create the change he wants to see. Every individual must accept some responsibility, after all. Now it’s up to the powerful bodies at the top to do their part, and hopefully, they will. The future is uncertain, but everyone needs to make an effort.