Black Mirror’s New Interactive Movie “Bandersnatch” Grabs Attention
This article contains spoilers, but there will be a warning to stop reading before I get into them.
If you have been a fan of Black Mirror for a while now, like myself, you probably would have had a little freak out on December 29 when Netflix finally released Bandersnatch, the new interactive movie from the Black Mirror franchise. There were some rumours floating around, but the release of the film came as a surprise to many, and in no time, people logged into their Netflix accounts to see what it was all about.
For those who are unaware, Black Mirror is a sci-fi, out of the world, futuristic show created by Charlie Brooker, made to display the warnings of what the future will bring with our new means of technology and living. The show has four seasons on Netflix, with about a half dozen stand-alone episodes, which are more like movies, uncovering all different life scenarios of a futuristic ability or device gone wrong. These episodes explore our vision of the future and explore the pros and cons of our fast developing technology. As a lead up to season five being released, Brooker and his team released Bandersnatch to get people back into the Black Mirror world, and also to hype up the ability of this team; they will leave no stone unturned.
Bandersnatch follows the life of Stefan, a young boy who is in the middle of creating a video game, Bandersnatch, which mimics the choose your own adventure book by Jerome F Davies. The viewers are in control of Stefan’s everyday life, including choosing what he eats for breakfast, and the music he listens to but it gets way more complicated as the movie goes on.
As the controller, the viewers take Stefan through his journey of creating this game, and through a psychological break, as he is discovering whole new worlds surrounding his life. Depending on what path you chose for Stefan, he discovers different things about his life, giving the movie about 20 hard, and soft endings. Make a wrong move? The movie will take you back to remake a choice you have already made. This movie is a total experience, and if you want to see all of the possible endings (like myself), expect to be experiencing this movie for at least four hours.
SPOILERS STARTING- Skip to Acting
There are many theories about the world Stefan is living in. One very possible theory is that Stefan is living in the White Bear simulator and that every time he wakes up, he has to relive the event of killing his father. This can be proven by the reoccurring White Bear symbol throughout the movie, even on Stefan’s house. This would prove why Stefan wakes up with the same sequence every morning, and is shown doing the same things from day to day, just like in the White Bear simulator. Also, the movie is set in 1984 leading us to wonder about a Big Brother coincidence?
Another theory is that Stefan is living in the San Junipero world, where time can be altered, and you can travel through it. This would explain the “talk about mom” endings in Bandersnatch. One of the hard endings, where Stefan goes back and gets Rabbit from his father, and then chooses to go on the train with mom, shows evidence of this world, as Stefan is both living in the past, and future. Later, when Stefan dies on the train with his mom, he also dies in the present time. Both theories are very possible, and probably what Brooker intended for the hardcore fans to discover.
If you are a fan of Black Mirror, you will know that Brooker throws them all over every episode. Bandersnatch is no different, referencing almost every episode in the series. Of course, there is the White Bear symbol that is used all over the movie, but there are many more that are hidden well. The main place to look for easter eggs in Black Mirror is in the headlines in any news broadcast. In the broadcast in Bandersnatch shows reference to Michael Callow, who was the Prime Minister in the series' first episode “National Anthem”.
It also references the fourth season's episode, "USS Callister", by mentioning the team has won an Emmy. The therapist office that Stefan goes to is called “Saint Juniper’s” which is a reference to San Junipero (which also helps with that timeline theory), and his doctor’s name is “Dr. R. Hayes”, which is the name of the man in Black Museum. Colin’s games are also flashbacks to past episodes like Nosedive, and Metalhead. Go back and see how many easter eggs you can find!
Black Mirror is a British show, which sometimes features popular North American actors, including Jon Hamm and Bryce Dallas Howard, but usually features British actors.
In Bandersnatch, British actor Fionn Whitehead who you may recognize from the movie Dunkirk plays Stefan Butler. While he is pretty new to the acting scene, he definitely proves himself in this movie, showing his versatility to each and every timeline. Another familiar face in this movie is Will Poulter, who plays video game master Colin Ritman. Poulter is most commonly known for his roles in The Revenant, Maze Runner, The Chronicles of Narnia, and We’re The Millers. Poulters acting in Bandersnatch is something brilliant, including his incredible monologue about Pac-Man, and how he, like us, are being controlled by another entity from a different universe. With every Black Mirror episode, the acting is always spectacular and the actors cast really do justice to their characters.
This movie is revolutionary, paving the path for new creators to step outside the box and change the way we experience television and movies. If you love sci-fi storylines, futuristic experiences, and just going down a rabbit hole of anxiety and wonder, Black Mirror, and Bandersnatch is definitely for you. Relax, and join the ride that is our future.