Leave it to Black Mirror to be the first streaming show to implement a “choose your own adventure” styled full length movie. Like on-line role playing games of old, the movie plays according to the choices selected by the viewer. Of course, it’s Black Mirror, so no matter what ending you pick it will be bad or is it?
The story follows a young game programmer named Stefan (Fionn Whitehead) in the 1980s. As he attempts to adapt an open-ended fantasy novel titled Bandersnatch, the process leads him down a dark path. Like the writer of the Bandersnatch novel, Stefan is convinced something is controlling his actions. Other supporting characters include Mohan Thakur (Asim Chaudhry) and Colin Ritman (Will Poulter), both of whom work at a video game company, Butler’s father, Peter (Craig Parkinson) and Butler’s therapist, Dr. Haynes (Alice Lowe). The film is based on a planned Imagine Software video game of the same name which went unreleased after the company filed for bankruptcy. It also alludes to Lewis Carroll‘s own works that feature the bandersnatch creature. A piece of science fiction and horror, Bandersnatch incorporates meta-commentary and rumination on free will.
The viewer (you) has ten seconds to make choices, or a default decision is made. Once a playthrough ends, the viewer is given an option of going back and making a different choice. The average viewing is 90 minutes, though the quickest path ends after 40 minutes, and at least one path results in a 2.5 hour viewing experience. There are 150 minutes of unique footage divided into 250 segments. IGN reports that according to Netflix, there are five “main” endings, with variants within each ending.
Director David Slade and Black Mirror creator Charlie Booker have crafted an engaging and thought provoking film with some endings they suggest viewers might not unlock the first couple of go around’s. Nice way to keep that viewership number up guys!
With that said HipsterZOMBIEJoint gives Black Mirror: Bandersnatch a high 8 out of 10. Still trying to find that happy ending to the film…