Black Mirror goes choose-your-own-adventure with new interactive movie ‘Bandersnatch’
Netflix just dropped Black Mirror's first feature-length installment, a movie titled Bandersnatch. Set in 1984, it's about a young computer programmer, Stefan (Dunkirk's Fionn Whitehead), who is grappingling with personal issues while working on a video game adaptation of a massive choose-your-own-adventure novel called Bandersnatch. Like the game, the film puts the viewer in control of Stefan's fate, and you get to choose everything from what breakfast cereal he eats and what music he listens to, to more serious (and sometimes disturbing) choices. Netflix says that there are over a trillion possible ways through Bandersnatch, though there appear to be five main endings to the film.
Like most episodes of Black Mirror, Bandersnatch is darkly funny, bleak, thought provoking, shocking and, in at least one plotline, wildy meta. Series creator Charlie Brooker wrote the labyrinthian screenplay and it was directed by David Slade, who has helmed a few other Black Mirror episodes, and much of Hannibal. (Hannibal composer Brian Reitzel did the score.) The nature of this beast makes it more playful than most episodes of the series. I watched (played?) it twice, trying to make completely different decisions the second time through, though there are some narratives it really wants you to take and may give you a few second tries along the way. Running time is 90 minutes, but you'll probably end up spending a lot more time with it, trying to get different endings. I did at least. It may not be as satisfying as the best regular episodes, but it's a fun, fascinating experiment.
There are loads of easter egg references to other Black Mirror episodes here and Bandersnatch was also referenced in 2016 episode "Playtest." There are a lot of fun period references, too, and some great music from the era (XTC, Thompson Twins, Laurie Anderson, Frankie Goes to Hollywood) and from electronic/prog pioneers Tangerine Dream and Tomita. Watch it now on Netflix and watch the trailer below.
If you need more stuff to watch during the holidays, we've got a list of 2018 shows worth binging.