‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ Offers A New Way To Watch Movies

Back to Article
Back to Article

‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ Offers A New Way To Watch Movies

Jack Julow, Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Charlie Brooker, creator of the hit series Black Mirror, returns with director David Slade with an interactive film set in the 80s that explores ideas of self-control and free will with a nostalgia-filled soundtrack and clever storytelling. Black Mirror has been a staple show of the streaming service after Netflix acquired it from Channel 4, which can be proven with its multiple Emmy wins and dedicated fan base. Black Mirror operates similarly to the classic anthology series The Twilight Zone but with futuristic instead of supernatural and otherworldly horrors. I have been a massive fan of the series as it continues to create original stories with complex themes, and especially how each episode has its own style. However, its best episodes have featured references to 80s with the critically acclaimed “San Junipero” and now Bandersnatch.

Bandersnatch opens up as any Black Mirror episode with the many things shrouded in mystery as Stephan Butler (Fionn Whitehead) appears as the story’s protagonist. Stephan wakes up before he head to showcase his demo to a game publisher and before he leaves, the viewer must decide what cereal Stephan eats: Frosties or Cream Puffs. If you happened to be on Twitter at the film’s release, you would see the memes about the now infamous cereals being the first juncture where the viewer decides Stephan’s fate. As the film progresses, you must choose Stephan’s music and other tiny things as Stephan heads to the game publisher and reveals his game. The first major decision comes where Stephan either refuses to work at the publishing place or independently at his home. I chose to accept the offer the first time and the story flashforwards six months later to where his game comes out to be canned by a critic. Then, the film sort of rewinds itself back to the beginning but there are subtle differences in dialogue as if the characters are aware they have been in the situation before.

I would discuss the highly interesting plot, but my watching experience may be drastically different from yours and each individual’s way of progressing through the film. Needlessly to say, the interactive choice format propels the film forward in interesting unique ways with seamless transitions that help explore all the realities Stephan lives. You can choose to help Stephan consult a therapist, take illegal drugs, or kill himself depending on the path you take him down. Stephan becomes aware of the viewer controlling himself as the film progresses where it can lead to a very meta ending or a very sad commentary on self-control after tragedy. Watching this film made me empathize with Stephan as we went through the story in tandem and I felt extremely anxious for his character as I actually decided his fate. Bandersnatch’s use of the choose-your-own-adventure style brings the viewer close to Stephan in a way film has never done before.

However, Bandersnatch is not quite a novel idea to many video game players. I read other critics point out how Telltale games like The Walking Dead or the other episodic series Life Is Strange have used this style of storytelling before. Notwithstanding, I believe Bandersnatch utilizes this storytelling device more as a film would over a video game. Its interactive nature feeds into Stephan’s spiral into madness, while the games employ it more as a way to continue to the story. Stephan knows he’s being controlled and does not like it, while the characters in those games are unknowingly being bound by our decisions. I do not think Brooker adopt the interactive format as a gimmick but rather as a tool to accomplish Black Mirror storytelling in a new innovative way.

I highly recommend Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, which is currently streaming on Netflix.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ Offers A New Way To Watch Movies

    Knight Life

    Lady Gaga ‘Enigma’ Show Review

  • ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ Offers A New Way To Watch Movies

    Knight Life

    Knights VG: ‘FTL: Faster Than Light’ Review

  • ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ Offers A New Way To Watch Movies

    Knight Life

    Coldplay ‘A Head Full of Dreams’ Tour Review

  • ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ Offers A New Way To Watch Movies

    Knight Life

    ‘Creed II’ Movie Review

  • ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ Offers A New Way To Watch Movies

    Knight Life

    Multi-Genre Music Roundup

  • ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ Offers A New Way To Watch Movies

    Knight Life

    ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ Movie Review

  • ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ Offers A New Way To Watch Movies

    Knight Life

    ‘Family Matters’ Christmas Special Review

  • ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ Offers A New Way To Watch Movies

    Knight Life

    ‘The Grinch’ Movie Review

  • ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ Offers A New Way To Watch Movies

    Knight Life

    ‘Home Alone’ Movie Review

  • ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ Offers A New Way To Watch Movies

    Knight Life

    ‘The Grinch’ Album Review

Navigate Right