If you’ve been on social media for the past month, you’ve probably seen countless posts, tweets, videos, memes, and articles center around Netflix Original “Bandersnatch.”
Created by the producers for its corresponding TV series, “Black Mirror,” the film is one of a kind. The plot is “simple.” Stefan, the protagonist, is a video-game designer who has recently been spending his time delving into a novel called “Bandersnatch,” by Jerome F. Davies. The movie is a choose-your-own-adventure with countless endings and subplots. Stefan wants to create a game that does the intricate stories justice.
However, the pressure he faces to make the game as accurate as possible while also dealing with his own personal issues proves to be harmful in every sense of the word. Possibly the most intriguing aspect of the movie is that you, the viewer, get to choose everything that happens, all the way down to the cereal Stefan eats in the morning. Every move, every step Stefan takes is at your fingertips. This freedom, however, comes at the cost of Stefan’s mental sanity.
The producers of “Black Mirror” use the decision making to beg a very interesting, mind-consuming question: is there really such a thing as free will?
For example, a renowned video game designer, Colin Ritman, tries to investigate the psychological aspects of the game’s creation and the toll it takes on Stefan behind their company’s back. In doing so, Colin’s views on the insignificance of life are explored through none other than an acid trip.
He repeatedly mentions that each person’s life has no meaning and that once one ends, the next starts again. So, who really cares what you do in this life?
Colin’s views along with Stefan’s psyche really start to get the viewer thinking about the realities of free will. However, I’m not surprised since anything made by the people at “Black Mirror” will cause you to lay awake questioning your existence.
“Bandersnatch” is also incredibly detail-oriented. For instance, if you pick Sugar Puffs for breakfast, an hour into the movie, you’ll see a commercial for the very same cereal. Additionally, there are plenty of Easter eggs to the actual episodes of the “Black Mirror” series. In one hidden ending that an exponential amount of viewers will not see (based on their choices), there are references to games within the show, such as “Nohzdyve” and “Metl Hedd.” And for the keenest, most observant viewers, the ending reveals a way in which the audience can download a specific software on Android or Google to play “Nohzdyve.” Essentially, Bandersnatch is very intricate, which is a really appealing element of the movie.
One feature that blew my mind was the breaking of the fourth wall.
When the fourth wall is broken, the fictitious character addresses the audience directly, as if they are real people that know you exist.
This happens numerous times throughout the film, but specifically when Stefan asks the audience to give him a sign that we are the ones controlling everything.
Of course, this is followed by a choice, but the feeling of Stefan hunting for all the answers, and pleading for your help is such an insane, indescribable feeling that has never been exemplified in any other movie. All in all, I really enjoyed the movie’s plot, and the complex course it takes to get to each outcome. If you happen to have a spare moment (or a spare couple of hours) I would highly recommend going through the movie a few times to try and see as many outcomes as possible.
If it makes it easier, try to to get a 5/5 on Stefan’s game. Here’s a hint: there are only two ways to get there, and you aren’t going to like either.