Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018)

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
Director: David Slade
Writer: Charlie Brooker
Cast: Fionn Whitehead, Craig Parkinson, Alice Lowe, Asim Chaudhry, Will Poulter, Tallulah Haddon, Catriona Knox, Paul Michael Bradley, Jonathan Aris, A.J. Houghton, Fleur Keith, Laura Evelyn, Alan Asaad
Seen on: 28.7.2019

Stefan (Fionn Whitehead) is working on a computer game, an adaptation of the Choose Your Own Adventure novel Bandersnatch, a cult classic. It’s difficult to adapt, but Stefan can convince the people at Tuckersoft to consider releasing it. Tuckersoft is run by Mohan Thakur (Asim Chaudhry) but it’s most famous employee is Colin (Will Poulter). How things go from there depend entirely on what decisions are being made.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is a Choose Your Own Adventure film that is very cleverly made. The format here is definitely more important than the story, and so it is that, despite some cool meta stuff, the story falls a little flat. But the format works very well.

The film poster showing a profile shot of Stefan (Fionn Whitehead), white waves moving inward (or outward) over his head.

I like Choose Your Own Adventure stuff, and I thought that Bandersnatch was pretty well executed. It certainly invites you to try a couple of different paths, even though it didn’t inspire me enough to really go for the deep dive and try to hunt down every possible path and scene that it offers. For that, the story simply wasn’t strong enough. The main storyline is okay, but didn’t really draw me in, but the subplots were definitely too out there to work for me.

What I did like a lot was when they went a little meta (even more meta than the fact that it is already a story about adapting a CYOA novel). That’s definitely the most engaging part about it for me. Though I also really appreciated that the film has a sense of humor.

Stefan (Fionn Whitehead) reading the novel Bandersnatch in his room.

Whitehead is really good as Stefan. Poulter isn’t bad either, but I struggled with his role a little. Colin is very attention-grabbing and borderline annoying. Toning it down a little would have been more to my taste, but that’s not Poulter’s fault.

Overall, I had a good time with Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, but I didn’t love it so much that I would want to dive back in and explore it a little more. And that is a pity, if you ask me.

Colin (Will Poulter) at his workstation.

Summarizing: give it a try, if only for the format.

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