Black Mirror: Bandersnatch ★★★½
IMDb Rating | 7.7
Humpo Show Rating | 6.8
Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Craig Parkinson, Alice Lowe, Asim Chaudhry, Will Poulter and Tallulah Haddon
Director: David Slade
Plot Summary: In 1984, a young programmer begins to question reality as he works to adapt a fantasy novel into a video game. (IMDb)
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is an interactive film written by Charlie Brooker revolving around choice and control. Stefan (Fionn Whitehead) is working on a computer game, which is due to hit the shelves for Christmas – but he begins to suspect that he isn’t fully in control of his actions.
The film has received plenty of online hype surrounding the interactivity element. It is Netflix’s first foray into this medium, and I can see them doing the same again – perhaps in the horror genre? Although it is far from a perfect film, the choice element – or to be more accurate, the lack of choice – meant that it was an interesting experience wondering what would have happened if I had chosen the other option. On first viewing it would be exciting, especially if you unwittingly follow the ‘correct’ path that Brooker set out for viewers, but as people have found out, if you choose an alternate path it will loop back, which has caused frustration from many. Although this element of the film was a bit hit and miss, I’m glad they attempted to do something a little different.
However, the narrative is unsatisfying the further we progress through the story. Slade/Brooker didn’t manage to sustain an interesting plot that would last the entire length of the film, yes there were moments where the anticipation of what would happen next was great, but that suspense was invalidated by the need to get back on the designated path that they had set out for viewers. I think we all pretty much guessed the general direction the film was taking, therefor the shock factor wasn’t as high as expected – although there were some moments that were well thought of, including the dog digging in the garden.
Bandersnatch is a good attempt at a multi-path interactive film, however, time will show that it falls short of being a great film. A good film, yes, but the novelty value can never replace a truly great narrative, which is something that is found lacking here.
The Humpo Show | Richard