In the twisted dystopian science fiction movie “The Platform,” inmates of a vertically piled up prison, with two inmates on each floor, fight for bare survival due to the lack of food for the entire population. An extensive buffet of the finest hearty and sweet food travels, from top to bottom through the middle of the cells, in a limited amount of time. In the embedded scene, the focus lies more on how two characters interact and use a particular animal.
This particular scene depicts a dog that is being protected by its owner from the other inmates who might harm it in order to survive. The inmates on the top floors of the prison have an abundance of food and waste it or purposefully defecate or pee on it for the bottom floors to consume. An animal on screen that we get more time with is a small dark brown dachshund and is brought into the prison by one of the inmates because she holds it very dear to her heart.
In this scene, the Dachshund is sleeping peacefully in its owner’s bed before being murdered and mutilated by one of the inmates because they were hungry and wanted to consume it. The dog is just there, existing, a part of its environment, the jail room. Not much attention is paid to the animals’ emotions or agency since the movie’s main focal point is its commentary on class and the terrible acts people would commit in a dystopian world that lacks enough resources for everyone. The camera abruptly cuts away before the dog as it is being murdered and then cuts to a gory close-up shot of the dog’s mangled and dismembered body. This cutaway shot is undoubtedly required because the film is not using a CGI dog, in order to cut back on the film budget. It is also illegal to actually mutilate a dog on camera. The cut-away has its own stylistic effects. This scene in the dark with a blood-red filter on the shot stirs dread in the pit of the viewer’s stomach. It worsens the impact of the murder of the dog by letting us know what’s happening without the catharsis of actually experiencing it – so the viewer is only left to wonder about what has happened to the Dachshund. The viewer can hear the desperate cries and screams of its owner, off-screen. The dog is not awarded any agency since it was at the mercy of a vile human being wanting to cause pain and suffering.
Ultimately, the dog was given no agency and no other purpose but to be used by various people. The lighting is quite dark; the scene was shot in close-ups, medium shots, and wide angles. The sequence rapidly jumped from the dog being alive in bed to the dead dog, emphasizing how fragile an animal’s life is. This also invokes uneasiness and distress in the viewer. The sound design employed is both intra- and extra-diegetic. The sound score is quite unnerving and haunting. This scene cinematically portrays how differently both people treat the Dachshund, one cherishing it and the other disregarding and killing it. Generally speaking, though, both parties are using it for their own benefit rendering it a merely disposable sentient being there to be used by humans. This representation stays consistent throughout the movie proving to be an allegory for society’s horrific treatment of animals.
Gaztelu-Urrutia, Galder, dir., The Platform(El Hoyo), (Netflix, 2019)