“Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” in some translations of “Bandersnatch” is an interactive full-length film from Netflix, released after the fourth season of “Black Mirror”. The plot of the film is not associated with episodes of the series, although it has some significant references. After its release, “Bandersnatch” made a splash. Fans of the series praised the film for its fresh idea and the unchanging style of Black Mirror. All the rest – for the fact that it can be watched separately from the series, and for well-designed interactive.
As much as we would not like this, “Bandersnatch” is not the first interactive film in the history of cinema. Pictures of this genre come out with enviable stability, but their quality stably leaves much to be desired. At the moment, the most prominent representative of the “interactive” (in addition to “Bandersnatch”) is the “Mosaic” by Steven Soderbergh. The mini-series with the star Sharon Stone had all hopes of success, but multitasking frightened the audience. And now we are not talking about the plot, but about the fact that you can’t watch the series without a special arrangement that you need to look for, download and configure.
Briefly about the plot
The plot of Bandersnatch is centered around programmer Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead), who decides to adapt the book Bandersnatch to the game. According to Stefan himself, – revolutionary for its time.
Briefly about the idea
The total timing of “Bandersnatch” is 150 minutes. In order to go through all the existing plot twists, it will take more than 5 hours. The minimum movie time is less than 20 minutes. The maximum is about two hours.
The main idea of “Bandersnatch” is not that you can control the actions of the hero. Based on the number of existing interactive films, this technique can hardly be called innovative. And the fact is that after making a decision, you cannot rewind and change your choice. Each new decision (if it does not provoke the end) creates unique storylines that form an integral film.
By the way, you can watch “Bandersnatch” with interactivity only on Netflix.
Freedom or illusion
Throughout the film, we continually encounter the right to choose, for the decisions of which we have 10 seconds and two options. But if the choice of cereal or music seems mediocre to us. By the way, certain cereal provoke certain advertising. That all other decisions, including murder, seem quite important. At least we want to think so.
Unfortunately, the possibility of a free choice in Bandersnatch is nothing more than an illusion, because the plot of the film is thought out to the smallest detail, and whatever you choose, for example – to spill coffee on a computer or hit the table – after the choice “spill”, the film is over, because the continuation of the robots over the game is the main storyline.
The fact that the film only pushes us toward a solution is also indicated by the main plot conflict. Stefan cannot finish the game because he wants to. Going crazy with his powerlessness, it begins to seem to him that all his actions are unproductive because they are corrected by someone from outside. After a while, and not without the help of a scene mentioning Netflix, the hero realizes that he is being controlled. For this reason, in subsequent scenes he will try to resist your decisions.
The main concept of the endings – Stefan’s game goes on a big rental and discuss it in a TV show, rating it from 1 to 5. Each of the five balls has its own ending, depending on where, how much, with whom and how Stefan worked on the game .
More non-trivial endings are also available. For example, Stefan learns that his whole life, as if “The Truman Show” is being removed and is likely to go on the air. He leaves the site, but based on the general plot mood, we can assume that his father was the director.
Another interesting ending is that Stefan is not late for the train, and dies with his mother at the age of five. For this reason, in “real” time, Stefan suddenly dies in a chair.
More “simple” endings are also available. For example, Stefan commits suicide by jumping from a balcony; breaks his computer with his hands, or spills tea on it.
However, the total number of endings is unknown. According to official data, from 5 to 12 possible outcomes, all of which are not spelled out over the rest. Simply put, they are equal.
The brightest references
The name “Bandersnatch” refers us to the poem “Barmaglot” (Jabberwocky), in which there is a hero Bandersnatch. This poem can be found in the fairy tale “Alice Through the Looking Glass”. Well, Stefan himself now and then faces heroes or paraphernalia from Alice.
For example, Ritman’s get-togethers, where guys try psychedelic drugs, is a clear allusion to the Mad Hatter’s tea party. And in one of the scenes, Butler literally “passes” through the mirror in his room, thereby appearing in the “Through the Looking Glass”. In addition, throughout the story, Stefan is looking for a toy white rabbit, which was hidden by his father in childhood. These searches can be compared to Alice’s searches for the White Rabbit. Both there and here, finding a rabbit, the main characters recognize a couple of entertaining secrets.
Less noticeable references include the year of the story, – 1984. An allusion to the novel of the same name by George Orwell, in which, like in the Bandersnatch, the protagonist is relentlessly controlled. In the case of “1984” – coming from the state. In the case of Bandersnatch – from you.
“Bandersnatch” in the best tradition of the “Black Mirror”, through interactivity, demonstrates a world in which your choice, no matter how “your” it is, does not depend on you at all. This idea, as the end-to-end line of the entire “Black Mirror” in “Bandersnatch” reaches its zenith, offering viewers to try themselves in the role of “Big Brother”, but without giving them real control.
Based on the foregoing, is it possible to say that at the moment “Bandersnatch” is the best representative of the interactive movie genre? Definitely yes. Thanks to the intricacy and a lot of footage, the film skillfully creates the illusion of free choice, key for films of this genre.