Black Mirror: Bandersnatch Introduces the Future of Watching Movies

Story by Emma DeLaRosa, Staff Writer

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On December 28, 2019, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch was released on Netflix. It is a movie in which the viewer makes decisions for the main character, altering the course of the movie. The movie’s themes focus on mental health and the concept of technology controlling the people, not the other way around.

Each episode in the Black Mirror series focuses on the follies of modern technology by showing how future society is affected; however, what is different about Bandersnatch is that it takes place during the past (London in the 1980s). The movie’s protagonist, Stefan, is a programmer whose latest project is a “choose your own adventure” video game. Throughout the film, Stefan isolates himself and dedicates all of his time on the completion of the video game, withering away at his mental stability. However, he gets the eery intimation that someone is controlling him, alluding to the viewer who decides his every move. The decisions the viewer makes significantly affect the outcome of the movie and range choosing the cereal he eats for breakfast, to whether or not he should chop or bury the dead body.

As a fan of the Black Mirror series, it is evident that Bandersnatch stays true to the show’s central themes. Each episode of the series forces the viewer to think about the life they live and the role of technology. Each viewer’s experience is unique because each outcome depends on the choices they make, setting the movie apart from others. Each episode of the series has left me with serious reconsiderations of technology, but this movie took that to another level. After watching this for the first time, it was all I could think about and I felt the need to discuss it with everyone else I know who watched it, comparing our experiences. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is a movie like no other as a result of its futuristic elements.

The film is well-crafted, especially for how much filming was necessary in order to picture each possible outcome decided by the viewer. As I was forced to make decisions throughout the movie, it seemed as though I could feel the anxiety that the main character felt. Throughout the film, the protagonist experiences violent actions and has outbursts of anger and frustration as a result of his deteriorating mental health. The film depicts the importance of mental health as the viewer sees the protagonist lose his mind because of the pressuring situations he gets into.

I highly recommend watching Black Mirror: Bandersnatch for its ability to make the viewer reconsider technology while remaining entertaining. If you end up watching Bandersnatch, then I think that you would enjoy the rest of the series. 

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