The Choice Is Yours

Ever wonder if this world is but a virtual simulation inside some video game system? Well, if you haven’t, you’re in luck! The popular Netflix series “Black Mirror” is no stranger to creating complex story plots which make you question your existence and this same trend was followed in one of the newest special episodes called “Bandersnatch”. In this singular episode, the viewing experience for many is fans is revolutionized by integrating an interactive element.

After a brief instructional introduction, the main character, Stefan Butler, played by Fionn Whitehead, is controlled by you, the viewer, set in 1984.

Stefan is an upcoming game designer who lives with his father. Their relationship is rocky at times and this tension builds up as the movie goes on. As you make decisions for Stefan, he becomes more aware that he is not in control. It makes viewers wonder how much of the decisions are you… or something else?

Small decisions range from choosing what kind of cereal to eat to deciding to take LSD. The greatest aspect of the whole film is that Stefan is creating a virtual reality, filled with many endings and decisions, that correlates with the world he is living in. It takes an approach which almost feels like inception, lucidly traveling in between the past and present.

Even more interesting is the little easter eggs that are left for true Black Mirror fans to connect with the film. In previous episode, “Metalhead”, robotic dogs chase after helpless victims, which is alluded to in the episode. It makes you wonder whether that episode was just another video game reality playing out in the life of an unsuspecting character.

Yes, while the whole movie is revolutionary in its viewing experience, it can feel repetitive at times. The film does a great job at creating tension as each decision progresses the story toward an abundance of escalating results.

The viewer can create any story plot they want, with limitation, and choose which story line becomes Stefan’s reality. The whole essence of the film is left to the control of the viewer. There is even a scene where Stefan’s therapist asks the viewer if more action is wanted, where they comedically go into a full on action-like scene and fight to the death. A great diversity is what makes this whole production enjoyable. If the pathways were boring or badly produced it would make it difficult to find the motivation to continue through the same scenes.

More than anything, this film puts into perspective the importance of our daily decisions, no matter how small. After watching “Bandersnatch” my whole reality was being questioned. I realized that every decisions carries with it singular and collective effects. This means that no matter how small a decision, it can affect more than it was intended to.

Overall, “Bandersnatch” is a must watch. I had seen a few “Black Mirror” episodes beforehand but I was by no means particularly a fan. It wasn’t until I watched Bandersnatch that I was truly introduced into the diverse Sci-fi series “Black Mirror”. If you haven’t checked it out, I would advise you to make the choice of watching it.