Movie Review: El Hoyo (2019)

El Hoyo (literally, ‘The Hole’, marketed in English as ‘The Platform‘) is a Spanish language thriller released onto Netflix in 2020. Goreng (Iván Massagué) awakens in a small square room, numbered 48, with a man calling himself Trimagasi (Zorion Eguileor), with only a rectangular opening in the floor between them. Once a day, an extravagant banquet passes down the tower, beginning at floor 1, and continuing to the bottom where each pair of inmates are able to take what they want. As the banquet lowers, the odds of any food remaining become slim, leading those pairs at lower levels to find other means to survive, and other things to eat.

+ taking cues from Cube, Snowpiercer and TV’s Hannibal, with obvious similarities to recent Academy Award winning Parasite, this film is hardly subtle. Those higher in the tower are called ‘the above’ and those lower are ‘the below’, and the comparisons to the rich, upper class and the poorer casts are intentional, and obvious
+ the film is intense and confronting, with the violence coming swiftly and often exactly when you expect it. This is not a film for the feint of heart, including those, like me, who can’t handle the idea of eating unclean food
+ Zorion Eguileor is fantastic as Goreng’s cellmate, Trimagasi. He is equal parts disturbingly threatening, but also so softly spoken and polite he comes across as Hannibal Lecter, but unfortunately for us watching, this dichotomy is not lost on Goreng

– the film not only has many unanswered questions, but worse still they seem to be left intentionally unanswered. Some vague allusions to the Bible are not entirely out of place or unearned, but they are about as bare bones as you could imagine

Should you see this film: I really, really enjoyed this and the way it made me feel. For the first time I can remember in recent times I’ve thrown my hands to me face at the thought of what might happen next, and while I wasn’t exactly right in my prediction, I was close enough. The ending frustrated me, but a movie like this is not made to make you feel good.

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