Looking Back at 2010s Films: Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018)

5 Nov

By Tanner Smith

As I’m sure most people were last December, I was totally surprised by this addition to Netflix: not just a “Black Mirror” movie but a “Black Mirror” INTERACTIVE movie!

I’m fascinated by video games that serve as movies, during which you control the character’s actions and thus control the story. When they’re done right, such as “Until Dawn” on PlayStation 4, it can make for a most entertaining experience.

And “Bandersnatch” didn’t disappoint. My fiancee and I watched (er, “played”) it together at first. Then, as soon as it was over, we did it again. Then, a few days later, my parents came over to my apartment and we also played it together.

I’ve played it several times since its original Netflix release, and I know that director David Slade (“Hard Candy”) and writer/”Black Mirror” creator Charlie Brooker did their homework and created as many scenarios and paths as possible to make every decision matter…until they decide to let you try something else again, but even that, I didn’t mind because “Bandersnatch” itself is a story about different outcomes within the butterfly effect.

The greatest joy I get from an interactive movie is getting into both mindsets of a filmmaker and a film critic. It’s not simply a matter of what I would do if I made the hard choices but more a matter of what choice seems the most logical given the story that’s already been set up from the other decisions I’ve made.

Too “gimmicky” for a “Black Mirror” narrative? If I’m enjoying myself, I don’t care about that.

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