This Spanish horror flick that is currently streaming on Netflix Australia has garnered some buzz since its release early in 2020. A potential reason that it resonated so profoundly among viewers is its clear social commentary on class warfare.
Our stage is set when the main protagonist, Goreng (Iván Massagué), awakens in a cell marked with the number 48. We soon learn primarily through his cellmate, Trimagasi (Zorion Eguileor), that they are now part of the Vertical Self-Management Centre, a vertical tower where each floor has a hole that drives straight through its centre, in which a platform of food is lowered down to feed the inmates. The purpose is that those nearest the top are provided with the highest quality food and the further down the tower you are, the less likely you will be to reap the benefits of their status.
Each inmate is either sentenced or volunteers to serve a term inside the complex and must endure the time in order to survive. There is no knowing which floor you will be placed, and even then, one only remains for a total of 30 days before being moved on to a different floor. There is only a small amount of time to eat the allocated food too, before it is passed on down to the lower levels. Naturally with such a strict and measured regime, it brings out the worst in humanity, forced to fight tooth and nail for every last scrap or morsel of food.
Despite the desperate and the barbaric, bloody nature on show, there is a glimmer of hope in some of the inmates, and Goreng does his level best to turn this state of affairs around and search for a chance for salvation for all.
This movie may slather on the morals with a thick wedge of conspicuousness, but the manner in which it delivers is gloriously brutal, heart-rendering and painstakingly satisfying that it deserves high praise for the bold and accessible approach that director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia serves.
The system may be broken, but it only takes a few to stand true and turn the table.
A brave statement told through a dystopian lens.
- Saul Muerte