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Movie Review: Black Mirror – Bandersnatch

by Nutsa Javakhadze

On December 28, Netflix released their psychological thriller Bandersnatch in the anthology series Black Mirror. The film does not disappoint.

Black Mirror is known for its dark social commentary. The series is critical of society’s dependence on technology, arguing that soon it will strip us of our humanity and in extreme cases, make us care more about robots than we do about actual people. This idea is explored in one of the episodes, where the main character falls in love with an AI.

“If technology is a drug – and it does feel like a drug – then what, precisely, are the side effects? This area – between delight and discomfort – is where Black Mirror, my new drama series, is set,” said creator Charlie Brooker regarding the show’s name. “The ‘black mirror’ of the title is the one you’ll find on every wall, on every desk, in the palm of every hand; the cold, shiny screen of a TV, a monitor, a smartphone.”

Bandersnatch carries the same cynical attitude towards the digital age, but what makes it different from its predecessors is its interactivity. The Netflix original is a movie game, where the viewer gets to make decisions and choose their own adventure. The choices are innocent at first – deciding what kind of cereal the main character should have or what kind of music he should listen to.

Gradually, however, the options get darker and darker.
The plot revolves around programmer Stefan (Fionn Whitehead), who aims to develop a video game based on the choose-your-own-adventure book Bandersnatch. Its writer, Jerome F. Davies, is a controversial author regarded as a genius in his genre who later murders his own wife, convinced that she had been controlling him. As the story progresses, we start to see similarities between him and Stefan. Just like him, the main character starts to believe that he is not in control of his decisions, that someone is making them for him. Depending on the choices the viewer makes, the ending of the film varies. All of them, however, feature Stefan’s descent into madness.

“I think it was a really interesting idea,” said Rockwell sophomore Sandro Gvaramia. “The plot was really intriguing and I kept watching it over and over to see what endings I would get.”

Bandersnatch is a much more ambitious project than anything Black Mirror has ever created. The series is filled with meta-commentary and skepticism of free will. The release is a must-watch for anyone who likes psychological thrillers and conspiracy theories.

Check out the series trailer below: