Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews! As a heads up, this review will contain spoilers marked by bold headings as to where they start and end.
I love Black Mirror and how it tackles how creepy and weird technology can be. Recently, Netflix released a new special Black Mirror episode, Bandersnatch. It had the typical Black Mirror signature, something crazy and creepy about technology. Except Bandersnatch carried a twist; it was a choose own your adventure episode. After playing the episode and exploring more of what you could do, I decided to review it.
Set in 1980’s London, you play as Stefan, a 19-year-old game developer who has an idea for the emerging gaming industry. Based on the choose your own adventure book, Bandersnatch, by Jerome F Davies, Stefan creates a game for Tuckersoft, a game company. However, Stefan doesn’t feel in control, and he is sent down a path of insanity that he cannot return from.
Fionn Whitehead played Stefan Butler, and it was clear to see that Whitehead fully immersed himself in the role of Stefan. I found his performance convincing and the transition between scenes and decisions chose in the episode from his character were smooth and very well done. Craig Parkinson played Peter Butler, Stefan’s dad. The on-screen relationship between this father and son was brilliantly acted out by the pair, especially as more of the backstory is revealed throughout the episode. He could have had some more development as I quite liked his character, but other than that he was a good character. Another character I loved was Mohan Thakur, the head of Tuckersoft Games, played brilliantly by Asim Chaudhry (also known as Chabuddy G). He brought a bit of humour to the episode as well as making Mohan a fun and interesting character. Bandersnatch also starred Will Poulter as Colin Ritman, a famous game developer who helps Stefan develop his game. Depending on which storyline you chose, you’d either see a lot of Colin or little of him. As a character, I liked him, but I found his tone rather flat and drone-like.
As a lover of 80’s music, Bandersnatch’s music was something that I loved. There was ‘Relax’ by Frankie goes to Hollywood, ‘Here Comes The Rain Again’ by Eurythmics and ‘Too Shy’ by Kajagoogoo. The songs were well chosen and I felt the songs made the experience of the episode better.
In true Black Mirror fashion, the episode looked at something creepy with technology. In Bandersnatch, it showed Stefan being controlled by a hidden force (you, the viewer/player). The storyline and its corresponding endings were smart, scary and shocking. Watching Bandersnatch felt a bit like the Truman Show, where there was a bigger force controlling your life. This could be said for real life. What if someone else chose for you to read this review, or to do certain actions? What if they controlled your life, where you were not in the driver’s seat of your own life? Crazy, right?
SPOILERS BEGIN HERE!
Because there are so many various endings to Bandersnatch, they result in different spoilers. The most shocking for me was when Stefan killed his father and Bandersnatch being rated 5 stars, but there were other endings like the death of Colin (or Stefan depending on who you chose), Stefan dying in the therapist’s chair and Stefan ending up in prison. This flow chart on Reddit perfectly allows us to follow all decisions. Netflix and Black Mirror make a bold and powerful episode about the control of technology and the slip into insanity in Bandersnatch, and I look forward to more interactive TV episodes in the future.
SPOILERS END HERE!
Overall, I really enjoyed the choose your own episode of Bandersnatch, it was great fun to play and see the events unravel. It gets an 8.2/10 from me. There were other Black Mirror episodes which I found were better but nonetheless, I had a good time experiencing the thrill of the episode. I also hope that Netflix and other streaming services will begin to produce their own choose your own movies and TV shows.
Thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow me on Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) to be up to date with the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and everything else you need movie-wise. Also, give this blog a follow to be the first to read my reviews.
Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. Join me next week when I’ll be reviewing a movie about music from recently.