Black Mirror: Bandersnatch Film Review (2018)

The film that has got everyone on social media talking. Did you choose Sugar Puffs or did you choose Frosties? The new Black Mirror episode that is interactive and allows you, the viewer, to control the whole episode. An exciting alternative to the usual passive medium, Bandersnatch has captivated audiences with the ability to be the puppeteer in this Black Mirror adventure.

Bandersnatch is about a troubled and budding games developer, Stefan Butler, who plans to release a game called Bandersnatch. Bandersnatch is based on Stefan’s favourite choose-your-own-adventure book written by Jerome F Davies, whom went mad and killed his wife. Along his travels he meets hugely successful games developer, Colin Ritman played by Will Poulter. The viewer must choose Stefan’s decisions along to way that leads to multiples branches, paths and endings.

The interactive experiment worked, I was sat there with my partner having minor arguments over each decision. Sometimes we couldn’t agree on what to do and resulted in the person holding the controller choosing and accepting the consequences. When I was a child I love reading choose your own adventure books and heavily enjoyed games such as Heavy Rain and Until Dawn. This kind of film fulfilled the interactive itch. However, it is important to remember that it is highly unlikely that this will become the norm and likely be a trendy gimmick, just like 3D in 2010. If you accept that, you will enjoy this tenfold.

The story of a game developer creating a choose your own adventure game within a choose your adventure film is the perfect plotline for this type of medium. This is the only kind of plot that would of worked especially within the Black Mirror universe. It fantastically deals with a array of themes, from the illusion of free will and control. It also breaks the fourth wall and has multiple meta-jokes. The film is aware of the viewer being the master manipulator of the events and at times I felt so bad making this guy’s life much worse.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is an experiment that should be at least attempted by everyone that wants to try something different. It is a fun and unique experiment that puts you, the viewer at the centre of a Black Mirror episode, not that it sounds enticing with the usual themes of Black Mirror. My mind theoretically exploded at how some of the events were connected. People that are not fans of the gimmick must at least applaud the sheer complexity of how one writes and produces this.

Bandersnatch is a very good entry into Black Mirror. It has the usual themes of dangerous technology and wider social issues. The illusion of free will and how much we actually control is questioned but not on the characters but the viewer itself. The film explicitly holds up a mirror to the viewer and questions everything they have done or chosen. It is a unique experience that invokes quite visceral feelings that there is no wonder why this has become a talking point within social media. Bandersnatch has been hugely successful at what it had set out to do. Black Mirror still remains as one of the most exciting and innovative pieces of television/film and Bandersnatch is another glittering example of that.

Rating – ★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2

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