Bandersnatch review. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (TV Movie 2018)

Black Mirror's Bandersnatch: Charlie Brooker's meta masterpiece

Bandersnatch review

But I quickly got into the spirit of the thing. There must be so many different endings. That ethos first earned us some extreme meta-narrative with a dose of surrealism totally fun. I thought the base concept of Bandersnatch was pretty original and the execution extremely ambitious; the main problem I had with it was that the executional device the interactivity ended up hijacking the story in so far that I was more carried away by the choices I had to make than by the flow of the story itself. Maybe it's Pax, maybe it's not. Everything in his life is false, even the memory of his mother leaving, which is shown to be an elaborate set up with an actress pretending to be his mother.

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Netflix's Black Mirror: Bandersnatch Review

Bandersnatch review

The result is that the novelty of the choices never gets in the way of the ability to sit with a film and become attached to a particular plot line. Okay, choose your adventure could fun, at least it was fun when I read choose your own adventure books. Some may like to be involved me prefer the screen writers entertain me with their story lines. Meaning that somehow you choose what the other characters are doing with your choices instead of the main character, and that's also a bit confusing and a bit of a drag for me. Instead, Bandersnatch works best as an exceedingly fun proof-of-concept.

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So, Can You Actually 'Win' Black Mirror's 'Bandersnatch' With A Good Ending?

Bandersnatch review

Go back and forth to see what you'd missed? You feel responsible for the character's choices. By laying that shared universe groundwork and quite literally immersing fans of the show into his techno-paranoia ether, Bandersnatch should shed Black Mirror of the covenant yet inaccurate description as a Twilight Zone for the 21st century. We are supposed to feel the helplessness that Stefan felt at being controlled by our choices. They were fun for awhile, but after a time I became fatigued by the back-and-forth and wanted to get back to more traditional storytelling techniques. Image via Netflix But there are also other paths for Stefan. The way the plot is constructed is like a glass maze, where you keep wandering around and after a while you realise you are where you were a few minutes before; so, in the same way, I found myself watching several times the same sequence and, in all honesty, after 3-4 times, it started being a little repetitive. Then again, the psych med digression exists down some narrative corridor that many viewers may never go.

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Choose your own 'Black Mirror: Bandersnatch' review: Lloyd or Ali? Click here for Robert Lloyd

Bandersnatch review

Somewhere along the way I gave into the mad genius of Charlie Brooker: He gives us the illusion of autonomy inside of a story that is not only predetermined with finite outcomes, but is also a Rorschach test for each viewer. There are endings that will deliver you to the final credits, though there are also junctures where you are offered the choice of jumping to the credits yourself. This worked for about the first half hour or so, but after that it got really messy for my viewing experience. Most of the Bandersnatch experience contains convenient rewind hooks. For the later this is somewhat true, but there is are symbolic reasons for the character getting a do over every time the viewer 'kills' him. On the one hand, a branching film with multiple endings, so formally unlike what television generally is, could not be made and broadcast to quite so many people without the imprimatur of a well-loved series. The whole thing has been arranged, but in a complicated way to give the illusion of control.

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Black Mirror: Bandersnatch review

Bandersnatch review

So overall I recommend this title for it's novelty, but not so much for the script and general idea. It does so with the subtlety of a wrecking ball through a home. From the first ten minutes, before the decisions became significant at all, it was incredibly clear what the eventual outcome of the plot would be. If I wanted to play a video game I would have put on a video game. In one instance mom is a plant and Stephan's life is a lie. However I think the magic behind this film was blending pre-established mechanics choose your own adventure into a very mainstream platform cinema, Netflix. Netflix treading into new waters.

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Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (TV Movie 2018)

Bandersnatch review

The interactive mechanics are splendidly handled and designed; it runs seamlessly, whatever path you take. Adding in audience participation just makes things really, really messy when all is said and done. This has neither, and as a result the message behind the scenes feels clunky and mismanaged. The Black Mirror team has proven there's validity here and a lot of room for experimentation, but eventually someone else will come along and deliver a truly elevated version like what did for the on-a-screen devotees. It was all just a very dull attempt to do something different. It's really fun to have the options in the hands of the audience.

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