Emma Newman cub writer
Netflix’s first interactive film, “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” is a clever, well-designed film about technology and the decisions that a person makes. The movie revolved around Stefan Butler, played by Fionn Whitehead, a programmer who created a game called “Bandersnatch” based off a fake book called “Bandersnatch”. Throughout the course of the movie, the audience gets to choose how Stefan reacts to certain obstacles by clicking on one of two options the movie gives you, whether it is his choice of music or whether or not he accepts a gaming job at a company. As the story unfolds, Stefan is made aware that these choices are being made for him. The explanation behind Stefan’s lack of control over his life involves the video game he is making. The “Bandersnatch” video game allows the players of the game to make choices for the video game characters, and the “Bandersnatch” novel allows for the readers to make choices for the book characters. “Bandersnatch” eventually drives both Stefan and the novelist to total insanity.
The most commendable part of the movie was its plot. The content only related to its central themes: the concept that no one has control over his or her decisions and that every decision could be undone. It was suspenseful without being scary, and every new event was intriguing.
Another impressive aspect of the film was its active symbolism. The most obvious symbol that showed up in the movie looked like this: –[ . It represented the lack of free will that a person has and how it can lead to death. These symbols allowed the movie to seem fluid and connected, which made the story a bit easier to follow.
The most unique aspect of the film was the choices that the viewer of the Netflix movie was allowed to make. At the start of the film, the choice variety was impressive, and the concept that each choice would change the direction of the movie added a bit of intriguing fear about making the wrong choice. However, the entire purpose of making these choices was taken away to some degree. At several times throughout the film, viewers are allowed, or sometimes times forced, to undo their choices. This not only made the movie less meaningful, but less interesting because every choice seemed to matter less than the one preceding it.
The most interesting choice that the writer of this movie made was making each character have its own dark twist, whether it was Stefan’s mental instability or Colin Ritman, Stefan’s fellow game creator played by Will Poulter, and his apparent knowledge about all of the horrors of the “Bandersnatch” universe. However, despite the creativity of this film, aside from Stefan, none of the other characters seem to have any real depth or personality. This makes it difficult to relate to the characters or have a real connection to any of them. The lack of interesting characters made the movie significantly less enjoyable.
Overall, this movie was a good idea with unique aspects, but it lacked variety and relatability. This movie could have been amazing if the writer, Charlie Brooker, had decided to think outside the box, but because it was so two-dimensional, the movie is not worth watching again. However, despite everything, the concept of allowing the audience to participate in the film could be the beginning to an entertaining and impressive genre of movies.
Title: “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch”
Rating: 7.5/10 (IMDb)
Runtime: varies depending on path chosen
Personal rating: 6/10