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Black Mirror: Bandersnatch Review

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is a Netflix Original film that aims to do something different, it's a choose your own adventure movie. You make choices as they appear on the screen, and that will alter the path the movie will show you. It's not quite as deep as one would expect; but the more you continue, the more you'll see. I finished what was somewhat of a satisfactory conclusion rather quick, but continued diving in to see what would happen. The more I chose things, the more it felt like a series of random situations.

This is a rather cool concept, but they selected a story that makes it come across as somewhat of a gimmick. I've been a big fan of the Telltale titles and the Life is Strange games, I mention those as this is a similar concept. You make choices, and that directly effects the situation. There was a theme of lacking control, or self-consciousness and perhaps that made it a bit too silly for me. In general, the character Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead) is attempting to build a game. It's based on this book of sorts, titled Bandersnatch. It presents a distinct story line of what happens, and if you're lucky you'll get to see this sort of echo that it causes over time.
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch Wallpaper
While there are interesting concepts explored here, they seemed to have forgotten about the development of the characters. Each are empty, just here to tell you small details about things. The narrative felt incredibly weak and the choices didn't seem to matter. I was hoping for a vast change-up, but instead it was small decisions that would either cause a rewind to an immediate previous choice or just push me forward.

This became more varied towards the ending, with wildly differing paths yet I still didn't feel like I had an impact on things. There wasn't a consequence, and I didn't care about the characters at play. It actually became more silly as it went along, becoming almost cartoonish instead of more intriguing. The general choice setup for selection was fine, worked smoothly into the overall viewing style.

The Conclusion

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch presents an interesting concept, but doesn't deliver the necessary film elements to make it intriguing. This would be far too tedious to engage in multiple times and there just isn't any weight here for decisions. The choices came across as silly and the whole thing became more of a joke as I continued choosing different things. I'm not sure if you're supposed to go down a wacky path, but I had a good one almost right away.

It was dark, strange and made sense in terms of what they were showing. Once I kept pushing for new branches, I became less interested in what was going on. The characters are hollow, they didn't matter and some of the story lines came across as cartoonish. I love the concept, but the choice for the story here came across as gimmick instead of something innovative. In comparing this to games, it's nothing new. I can guess why Netflix is trying this out, I hope they come up with something more creative in the future with the idea.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch Review at Home with Streamed Viewing

Rating Overall: 5.2

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner