Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is a new movie on Netflix. It’s just 90 minutes long, but what those 90 minutes include is up to you. This is “viewer’s choice” so you will create your own sci-fi adventure!
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is a new Netflix sci-fi movie. However, it does almost feel like a mini-season of Black Mirror since you can create several versions of it.
The actual Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is just 90 minutes, but you get 5 hours of footage to work with. That means you can create several different variations. It also means you can’t review this Black Mirror movie as just one entity.
The 90-minute runtime, I watched the first time around can be very different from the version, you watch. Basically, you can literally go back and watch this movie over and over with a different result each time.
The “Choose Your Own Adventure” intro guide
When Black Mirror: Bandersnatch begins, it’s with a guide explaining how you will be interactive with the movie. It’s explained in a rather old school way. Both because this is Black Mirror and because the story takes place in 1984.
The “Choose your own adventure” guide repeats itself a bit and lingers, but don’t be confused. It will all become apparent how simple it works soon.
The very first choice you will be asked to make is simply about which cereal to have for breakfast. This is the perfect way to get you started and familiar with the “choose your own adventure”-feature.
Also, it comes right after the lead character, Stefan (Fionn Whitehead) has talked about the book Bandersnatch. He’s on his way to a job interview about creating a game out of the “Choose your own adventure” book by Jerome F. Davies.
And don’t worry about making the wrong choice. If you do, the lead character Stefan will just decide to start over.
By doing this, he will fast forward across the choices you made the previous time around. But still with minor changes since Stefan did learn some things the first time around.
Who is Jerome F. Davies?
Well, Jerome F. Davies is the author of the Bandersnatch book in this Black Mirror: Bandersnatch movie.
Just like the old black and white movie in Home Alone (with the iconic line “Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal”) wasn’t real, neither is this book or author.
Not in this particular version, anyway!
Is Jerome F. Davies real?
No, Jerome F. Davies is the fictional author of the Bandersnatch book in this Black Mirror movie.
However, Bandersnatch is something many will be familiar with. The creature was created by Lewis Carroll.
Lewis Carroll was, of course, the famous author of Alice in Wonderland.
When you watch the new Black Mirror movie, you will probably feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland yourself. Especially since you will be making your own choices, much like Alice did.
What is a Bandersnatch?
A Bandersnatch is a fierce mythical creature which is immune to bribery and capable of moving very fast.
What this means for the Black Mirror movie is something you’ll have to find out for yourself.
Familiar faces in Bandersnatch
The star of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is Fionn Whitehead. This name might not be very familiar to you yet, but he was the star of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. In other words, you’ve probably seen his face many times already.
Fionn Whitehead portrays the character, Stefan Butler, who wants to create a game based on the Bandersnatch book.
Also, we get Will Poulter using his native British accent as the iconic video game designer, Colin Ritman. Will Poulter was almost cast as Pennywise in the new adaptation of It. To most people, he’s probably still best known from the comedy We’re the Millers or The Maze Runner.
Next year, Will Poulter will star in the new Ari Aster (Hereditary) movie Midsommar.
Alice Lowe plays Dr. Haynes, who is Stefan’s therapist. She works with him regarding the trauma of his mom’s death when he was just five years old. Her workplace is the Saint Juniper Medical Centre. This is, of course, a reference to both the “San Junipero” episode (my all-time favorite) from season 3 and the “Black Museum” episode from season 4.
If you don’t know Alice Lowe yet, then maybe Black Mirror: Bandersnatch will get you curious about her. She wrote, directed and starred in the absolutely brilliant indie horror thriller Prevenge (2016). A movie we adore here at Heaven of Horror.
The illusion of free will
Please note, this segment contains minor spoilers. Head to the next headline to avoid these.
The very concept of “Choose Your Own Adventure” is a play on the Black Mirror concept, which often involves the lack of free will. We can always make some choices, but most are made for us.
Or rather, we get limited options which make absolute free will an illusion. This movie is a perfect example since you always get to choose between two things. No other options are available.
Also, you will be going back to make different choices, if what you chose wasn’t the right (or best) choice for your path.
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch can probably be watched in 90 minutes, but you won’t if you challenge the movie.
A wonderful outcome of this is when Stefan becomes aware that you are in fact controlling him. An absolutely brilliant meta layer is included, when he becomes aware that you (yes, you the viewer) are controlling him through something from the future called Netflix.
This, of course, begs a 19-year old man living in 1984 to ask “What is a Netflix?”.
It is a brilliant little path with intense action scenes and you better hope you get to enjoy this particular path fully. Otherwise, you’ll have to go back and try again because it is pure meta gold!
Watch Black Mirror: Bandersnatch on Netflix now!
The new Netflix Black Mirror movie is directed by David Slade. He also directed the “Metalhead” episode in the previous season 4. This was the black and white episode featuring a post-apocalyptic world.
Also, there’s a video game in this movie based on his previous Black Mirror episode. All very meta!
Also read: Our review of Black Mirror Season 4 here >
David Slade also directed the brilliant horror thriller Hard Candy from 2005. It starred a very young Ellen Page (The Cured) and Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring and Insidious franchises) and set the tone for movies by David Slade. He does not shy away from anything really!
As always, it’s written by the Black Mirror creator himself, Charlie Brooker.
This time around, you get to decide which twisted direction Black Mirror will take. So how crazy it gets is (almost) entirely up to you. Enjoy and find the perfect version of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch for yourself.
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is out on Netflix worldwide from December 28, 2018.
Director: David Slade
Cast: Fionn Whitehead, Will Poulter, Alice Lowe, Asim Chaudhry
In 1984, a young programmer makes a video game based on a “Choose Your Own Adventure” fantasy novel. Soon, reality and virtual world are mixed and start to create confusion and multiple possible endings.
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