Black Mirror

Score: 6/10

When readers enjoy a book, it’s due to the predetermined set of events the author laid out that has a logical beginning, middle, and end. The reader’s choice is next to nothing, making the book its own entity.
However, sometimes the illusion of choice can lead to wonderful things.
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, a British-made Netflix exclusive film, is full of firsts, but will it be the first great film of the year?
Bandersnatch follows a young game developer in 1984 as he attempts to produce his first game. However, Stefan, the programmer, struggles with his own personal demons as well as the burdens of the outside world.
The movie puts its own spin on the tired plotline by implementing a choose-your-own-adventure layout.
In a cinematic first, the movie allows its viewers to determine how the movie progresses. These choices can be as simple as choosing a bowl of cereal to determining who will die from pitching themselves off a ledge.
Bandersnatch is also a standalone experience, so one won’t need to watch the entire Black Mirror series to understand it.
The illusion of choice is wonderful and truly makes me feel like what I’m doing has a say–but that’s only if one chooses the right option.
In the event the film considers an option ‘wrong,’ viewers get an unceremonious black screen and are sent back to the choices again. This urges viewers to choose the other path, as it advances the story.
In my first viewing, I seemed to stumble upon these black screens every choice I chose. It took me out of the experience and made the film a chore to complete.
Aside from these issues, the story proceeds smoothly and

seamlessly from choice to choice. It’s remarkably impressive just how much there is to it!
The plot points in the movie, though high-reaching, were often jumbled in translation.
I can’t delve into further detail without revealing the story, but as I watched the movie more and more glaring errors presented themselves. However, due to its experimental nature, I could excuse it.
The final issue I had was Stefan’s psychological breakdown. The story suffers from numerous time skips in order to illustrate only the most important events, which really takes away from the bigger picture.
It felt difficult for me to wrap my head around his actions, even once the story showed his inner thought process.
The acting was well-done, with special props to Will Poulter’s eerily knowledgeable character Colin Ritman.
The score was minimal and only really stuck out to me at the climactic scenes, which I didn’t mind. I wish there was more oomph to the soundtrack, but ultimately, a film is a film.
Bandersnatch gave a valiant effort to polish up the tired psychological horror formula while giving it a twist, but it just missed the mark.
It’s good fun for a night or two of relaxing, but the plotholes make the film more an art exhibit than a thoughtful look on a young man’s psyche.