Currently streaming on Netflix is Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, written by Black Mirror series creator Charlie Brooker and directed by David Slade. Presented as a standalone film, set apart from the anthology sci-fi/horror series, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is very much unlike anything we’ve seen before from… well… anyone.
For starters, this is an interactive film. And if you haven’t yet heard about this film, yes, you read that correctly. It is an INTERACTIVE FILM, wherein the choices you make determine the plot, course, and outcome of the movie itself. Think of it as a cinematic version of a ‘Choose-Your-Own-Adventure’ book. This alone makes it a massive achievement, as it’s the first of its kind – and perhaps unsurprisingly, it came on Netflix, courtesy of their resident techno-horror masters – but what makes it even better is the fact that this film is also exceptionally well-made.
The meat, or perhaps I should say malleable clay of the plot is that you are following the story of Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead of Dunkirk) a bright young computer programmer in the UK during the 1980s. Stefan is developing a computer game rendition of Bandersnatch, based off of the fictional (yes, we checked, and yes, we were also disappointed) ‘Choose-Your-Own-Adventure’ book of the same name by a mysterious and infamous author that you just might learn all about. A major video game company have agreed to meet with Stefan about publishing his revolutionary new game, which offers the player more choices and control over the narrative than anything seen before. Of course, there is much going on just under the surface – as Stefan is also a rather emotionally disturbed young man, with a complicated family life, a troubled past, and perhaps something even more sinister surrounding him that he may have just begun to stumble upon.
From there, the story is completely up to you, the viewer, as the various choices you make throughout the course of the film will determine exactly what happens, how it happens, where the story takes us, and you name it. With ten possible endings, five of which being hard/concrete endings that vary wildly in both tone and result, and even at least one (that this writer has found, anyway) super-secret ending that will leave you with even more extracurricular activity to dig into away from the film itself. But alas, I won’t say any more about anything, as this one could be very, very easy to spoil.
The Bottom Line:
Overall, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is truly a one-of-a-kind cinematic experience, and I don’t mean that in the PR/marketing way, I mean there literally isn’t anything else like it out there right now. It’s groundbreaking, revolutionary, and exceptionally well-executed. The Black Mirror team continue churning out some of, if not THE best work out of the UK, and I for one am just about to the point of throwing my tea over my keyboard in anticipation of what these brilliant lads from across the pond come up with next. As for an overall score… I’m inclined to give it a 10.0/10 – but, of course, your results may vary… so how about we give this one a firm – ???/10
Editor/Staff Writer: Nerd Nation Magazine
A very interesting way to tell a story. A story which, mind you, is fine by Black Mirror standards. Nice review.