Netflix and Chill: Black Mirror’s ‘Bandersnatch’

By The Collectress

***Spoiler Free Review***

I‘m a bit late to the Black Mirror party, but after bingeing the first few series a few months ago, I eagerly awaited the release of the newest installment,–a feature-length film (is it a film?) that’s just as twisty and unnerving as one has come to expect from the series. When the film was released on December 28, 2018, the internet exploded with concern about Frosted Wheats because it’s an interactive film. It’s part-movie, part-video game, and intense amounts of strange.

So, if that’s your kind of thing, keep reading. 

What’s It About?

To be honest, I’m still working that out for myself. Set in 1984 in England, the premise is that a young man, Stefan (Fionn Whitehead), is creating a videogame based on the choose-your-own-adventure novel, “Bandersnatch.” Not much information is given about the book or game, but we do learn that the author of the book ended up brutally murdering his wife, so, obviously it’s going to be all sunshine and puppies at the end [insert eyeroll emoji here]. What happens after that? Well, it’s up to the viewer. We are given power over Stefan’s choices at certain points in the film, and each choice leads him down a different path, ostensibly changing the film that we experience.

It’s mind-fuckery of the highest order.

Should I binge it?

I mean, if technology-driven science-fiction is your thing, then yeah, I say go for it. Before doing so, however, I recommend grabbing a glass of wine or a cup of tea or something because you’re going to need something to clutch on to as you become responsible for Stefan’s actions.

And that’s the trippiest part of Bandersnatch. As we watched it last night, it became less about Stefan and more about ourselves. Instead of referring to the characters in the film and their choices, it became “What the fuck are we going to choose? Are we going to get the rabbit or not???”

Can I watch it with my kids?

Absolutely not. Mind-fuckery aside, there’s some seriously dark and disturbing themes and some pretty explicit violence.

Watch it after they’re asleep.

Does it live up to the hype?

Yes and no.

Bandersnatch is a uniquely entertaining experience, that’s for sure. There’s nothing else quite like it available in the mainstream market, and for that reason alone, I believe that it’s worth trying out. That said, and maybe this is just the ending that I ended up with due to my choices for Stefan, but it left me a little unfulfilled. I’ve long since learned not to expect a completely satisfying or happy ending from Black Mirror episodes, but usually I feel more haunted and unsettled by the frighteningly-believable plots. With Bandersnatch, I feel dissatisfied, as if a scene or two of character development was skipped over and as a result, I don’t really believe the progression of the plot.

Of course, it was my choices that led Stefan to that ultimate final act, so maybe I only have myself to blame.

Like I said, it all comes down to a 75-minute bout of mind-fuckery. If you’re like me and never intend to break the fourth wall and self-insert into Netflix-land again, luckily, someone has posted all the possible endings for Bandersnatch on YouTube so you can see how you went wrong without experiencing it all over again.

What did you think of Bandersnatch? Tell us in the comments or tweet us! 

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