Thursday, January 3, 2019

Review Film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018)

#BlackMirrorBandersnatch (2018): 5/10

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is a special Black Mirror “event”; an interactive film that puts the viewer in the driving seat to decide how the plot will unfold based on a number of choices within the film. We follow a young programmer as he looks to create a new interactive video game based on a fantasy novel.

Of course, an interactive, “choose-your-own-path” type experience has been seen before in many a video game, and even in books such as the ‘Goosebumps’ series, but in this format it opens up so many doors. Should Bandersnatch prove enough of a pull for a large number of viewers then we would certainly expect to see a flurry of interactive films in the short term, particularly from major companies such as Disney. It’s an engaging idea, if done well.

And that’s the main problem for Bandersnatch, which reportedly has 5 different endings and 312 minutes to potentially work through, although you wouldn’t know it. Too many times are you given a choice to make, only for the story to loop back on itself and force you to select a different option. It’s not very engaging at all in the end, in fact, it’s incredibly frustrating.

The film feels like Black Mirror’s usual dark self, but feels incomplete; like we only have a quarter of a typical Black Mirror plot with the rest being filled with interactive options. What starts as fun and engaging finishes on a sour note. It’s certainly a concept with potential, but in the end Bandersnatch falls short, instead feeling like it has more in common with a 90’s adventure video game with a very restricted narrative.

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