Rates: * * * 1/2
Why Did I Watch It? In the top 10 on Netflix Australia
In an unspecified time (possibly the near future), at an unspecified location (possibly under Jeff Bezsos’ house, as one reviewer quipped), for unspecified (although seemingly varied) reasons, citizens find themsleves in ‘The Pit’; a sealed vertical structure where they live two to a level, levels changing at random every month.
Once a day, the titular platform descends and provides their only source of food, with each level only getting what the levels above leave for them. A succelent feast at level 10, becomes a pretty gross mess of odds and ends at level 40, becomes a tray of empty dishes below level 100 (and there are many levels below this). Most occupants live it up when they are on top, and either hunker down to fast, or resort to much more gruesome tactics, when they are down below.
No one gives a toss about anyone else: it’s simply survival of the fittest (this movie’s subtext: people are awful).
So: a metaphor for capitalism but also, in my mind, any kind of heirarchy. As George Orwell noted in 1984 (paraphrasing here); societies organise themselves into elites and workers, and the class sandwiched between these two is always trying to displace the ones above them. In this movie this manifests itself literally, as people on level 48 look enviously at the people on level 47, and so on. The dream is to get to the top levels: climb the ladder, even if you have to stand on other people to do it.
While it is not subutle, it is pretty effective, and the minimalism of the setup covers what must have been a low budget; The Pit is claustrophobic and you feel its presence more, the longer the film goes. I also enjoyed that the rationale behind it all is never really explained, beyond some vague notions espoused by a former employee of the sinister sounding ‘Administration’. It’s kindof a prison and kindof a social experiment. People voluntarily commit themselves, or are sent there involuntarily, sometimes it’s a punishment and sometimes an opportunity.
But it does not need to be fully explained, to work.
And it’s kindof like ‘Cube’ with gross out food moments; i.e. not a movie to watch while having dinner.