Making a review on Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is practically impossible. Netflix here achieved what seemed highly improbable: leaving people who have the task of writing about their productions without words to define what they watched. That’s because with the interactive experience that proposes up to five different endings for the same story, each person may have a different version to comment on. And that virtually cripples criticism. And for the first time, you can say that this is great (watch here).
It was a great marketing move. Suddenly, Netflix provides the title of a “Black Mirror event” on the platform without any other information. They were only revealed 48 hours before the official release, driving the fans of this production – still captained by Charlie Brooker – crazy. Now that it was finally revealed, we have this interactive and provocative spectacle that maintains the aura of past seasons, but proposes something totally new, and that has the power to revolutionize the way we watch series on the platform.
A lysergic journey
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch talks about a programmer who, during the 80’s, needs to adapt a famous book to become a video game. It turns out that even though he is a fan of the literary work, which is full of mysteries about its own narrative its author, who in the end went crazy and killed his wife, he can not find a way to transpose this into the games. To handle this, he has the help of another programmer, as ingenious and inventive as he, who introduces him to LSD to “expand his mind”. From this point on, we have a narrative that questions reality, both of the protagonist of the story and our own, playing with our perceptions using and abusing metalanguage.
Undoubtedly, this project is ambitious in form and execution. Director David Slade manages to maintain the narrative rhythm of the main story, which like all production of “Black Mirror”, has a foot in surrealism. The mystery is getting sharper, until we reach the crucial point where the decision ends in our hands. Producer and founder Charlie Brooker achieves here an art form previously unheard of on Netflix – and most likely in any audiovisual environment. The experience is fantastic and exciting.
However, the main story has some narrative problems that prevent this balance between story and interactivity from being perfect. Of course: because it’s something completely new and never tested in an adult series (Netflix has tested interactivity in children’s series this year), there are adjustments to be made to integrate the story into this new model of expressing it in images. Therefore, it is all forgivable and is not needed to speak about them in this text. The best thing to do is enjoy the lysergic journey that Black Mirror: Bandersnatch offers.
Playing with the viewer
Not that these jokes with the spectator are new things. There was, in Brazil, a telenovela called “A Próxima Vítima”, from 1995, that had an unresolved mystery about a serial killer and his motivations, that only was revealed in the last chapter and that had several different endings recorded. There was speculation in the press and the general public that had no idea how it might end. At the end of the day, the one who had the most chance of shocking the audience was shown. Since then, in their reruns, they use different and unpublished ends, giving the work a new freshness despite having more than 20 years.
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch can be considered an evolution of this method. Now we can define how the story will end, directly, without having to wait for a rerun to discover the new developments. It is clear that this experience will have future consequences, it will be better worked out. However, we will always remember that this is where it began. The well-created plot joined with a new technology to leave the choices in our hands. Finally, we can say that the future has arrived.
Trailer and additional information about Black Mirror: Bandersnatch Netflix
Synopsis: In 1984, a young programmer begins to question reality as he adapts a dark fantasy novel into a video game. A mind-bending tale with multiple endings.
Age rating: 16;
Release year: 2018.
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