Frosties or Sugar Puffs? This is the first in a series of decisions one has to make in Netflix’s newest original interactive movie “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.”
The movie tells the story of a boy named Stefan, played by Fionn Whitehead, who develops an interactive game named Bandersnatch, and partners with a video game company by the name of Tuckersoft to develop it.
In this interactive series viewers act as the puppet masters of the show, pulling the strings of an increasingly disoriented Stefan, with the remote control their magic wand.
However, the sense of control the viewer has, can actually be quite misleading. Although the decisions begin seemingly harmless, choosing between soundtracks and breakfast options, as the story progresses, the viewer, much like the main character, begins to feel out of control.
Even at times when you wish to go a certain path, the movie informs you that you have chosen incorrectly and sends you back to the very start. It plays you a montage starting from the beginning recapping all of the scenes up until you chose incorrectly, providing the viewer with a sort of ‘do-over’. The more and more possibilities that are presented, the more one feels like they are bound to eternally dooming Stefan to his demise.
When making my decisions I bounced back in forth between making the most emotional choices possible, thus amplifying the drama, and choosing based on strategy to somehow try to beat the ‘game.’ Nonetheless, no matter what I chose, it sent me into a descending spiral leading back to a main path. Upon this realization, I became frustrated, as it made me feel like the decisions I was making had no purpose, since the outcomes were predetermined.
Although some aspects of the film did upset me, “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” had some beautiful moments of cinematography such as during Stefan’s Willy Wonka-ish acid trip. Other aspects of the show that I liked is the way they interlaced humor between really heavy scenes to cut tension. The random martial arts scene with Stefan’s dad and his therapist were particularly hysterical.
I truly believe “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” is a monumental stride for storytelling, as it was original and created a unique interactive experience for people at home. Despite this, I was left unsatisfied after finishing the series. None of the endings ended up fulfilling my need for a jaw-dropping finale that could leave me debating if we are in a simulation for week like I have felt in the past after watching other “Black Mirror” episodes.