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Netflix Introduces Interactive Movie: Black Mirror’s “Bandersnatch”

%22Bandersnatch%22+was+released+on+Dec.+28+and+is+one+of+Netflix%27s+only+interactive+films.+%28Photo%2F+joe.ie%29
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Netflix Introduces Interactive Movie: Black Mirror’s “Bandersnatch”

"Bandersnatch" was released on Dec. 28 and is one of Netflix's only interactive films. (Photo/ joe.ie)

"Bandersnatch" was released on Dec. 28 and is one of Netflix's only interactive films. (Photo/ joe.ie)

"Bandersnatch" was released on Dec. 28 and is one of Netflix's only interactive films. (Photo/ joe.ie)

Jared Schmitt, Staff Writer

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“Bandersnatch” is the newest release from Netflix’s “Black Mirror” series and is one of the first interactive films to be made available to stream, and despite its flaws, it is an amazing experience for viewers. “Bandersnatch” follows amateur programmer Stefan as he works on his game “Bandersnatch,” adapted from the novel of the same name, with the viewer having ten seconds to make a decision at pivotal moments that will alter the story path. Although hampered by a need to force interaction into a lot of places, the story and integration of the interaction are extremely engaging.

While the story in “Bandersnatch” is about creating a video game, it focuses on other aspects of Stefan’s life as well and benefits from putting focus on his life. Stefan is a protagonist who viewers want to succeed because his slight social awkwardness allows viewers to relate to him, and his tragic backstory makes him a sympathetic character. To go along with a likable protagonist, the story in “Bandersnatch” is a thrill ride that leaves viewers guessing what could happen next, and the dry humor breaks up the tension well. The supporting cast, including programmer
Colin Ritman and owner of Tuckersoft, Mohan Thakur, are all very distinct and
enhance the story through their mannerisms and interactions with Stefan. Unfortunately, depending on what path the viewer ends up on, the story can get too meta, and it usually falls flat. While the first few times it is funny when the fourth wall is broken, by the end of the movie, the meta moments are more annoying than anything else and hamper an otherwise great story.

“Bandersnatch” is just one of just five interactive films on Netflix and is the only film currently targeted at an adult audience, and it does a great job with the gimmick. The first few choices offer little consequence to the story in order to get the viewer comfortable with the mechanic. The jump to what happens after an option is chosen is seamless. The film has five different main endings, and each one is different from the others, which allows for some replayability as viewers attempt to pick the right path to experience all the endings. However, an annoying issue with the different paths is the way some end. When the wrong choice is made in certain instances, the viewer can go back to the choice and change their answer, but then they have to watch a montage of everything they had done before. While
interesting earlier into the movie, it becomes tedious the farther in the viewer
gets because the montage only gets longer. Nonetheless, the interactive parts
of the film outweigh the annoyances.

Without the interactive mechanic, “Bandersnatch” would still be another good slow-burn thriller from “Black Mirror,” but the “choose your own adventure” mechanic makes it exceptional. The story is very enthralling and follows characters that viewers will care about even when the movie gets overly meta. Despite “Bandersnatch” being their first attempt at an interactive film, the “Black Mirror” producers do a great job incorporating the choices into the film without ruining the pacing, and despite the issues the mechanic had, it was still amazing for a first attempt. Despite its flaws, “Bandersnatch” is a great, genre-breaking movie that can be enjoyed
by viewers on multiple occasions.

About the Writer
Jared Schmitt, Staff Writer

Jared Schmitt, class of 2019, is a second year staff writer for The Rebellion. At Walpole High School, he competes on the Speech and Debate team in various...

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