A Review Of Netflix’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
Bandersnatch is a clever play of puppetry
Would you jump? Would you throw tea on the computer? Would you take the pills? Most importantly, what would you choose for breakfast: Sugar Puffs or Frosties?
Before you make any further decisions, know that this article contains spoilers. So if you haven’t experienced Bandersnatch just yet, you might want to hold off on reading. Then again, reading on is your decision. You’re free to choose.
So, do you want to play the game or learn about how it unfolds?
You chose: Find out about the plot
The film is set in the 1980’s and follows the journey of young programmer, Stefan (Fionn Whitehead), as he works on a choose-your-own-adventure video game based on his favorite fantasy novel, Bandersnatch. Stefan takes his proposal to Tuckersoft, where his hero, game designer Colin Ritman (Will Poulter), works.
Like Stefan’s video game concept, the movie lets the viewers participate in the narrative by navigating paths that open multiple storylines and resolutions.
You chose: Get more context
Viewers are first introduced to the interactive concept through choosing which cereal Stefan should eat for breakfast. Simple enough at the beginning—until you’re forced to make all of Stefan’s decisions.
There are instances where you’ll reach a dead end and you’ll be guided back to a previous question. An example is if you partner Stefan up with a team at Tuckersoft, after which Colin will hint that Stefan chose the wrong path. This will take you back to the question, urging you to choose working on your own. Other times, the movie takes you to scenes you’ve already seen and will require you to choose the different path.
So while you’re technically in control over Stefan and driving the storytelling, the truth is that you’re actually being controlled by Netflix—to an extent.
You chose: Read about the alternative endings
After you reach your ending, you’ll soon figure out that there are multiple ones in play. And while it can get a little exhausting to watch multiple scenes replay, they are worth the exploration.
The Train Ending
You’ll see a flashback that shows you the root of Stefan’s childhood trauma, wherein his mother was forced to take a later train because of him. That train derailed and caused her death.
If viewers choose to go on the trip, young Stefan dies with his mother on the train. In present time, Stefan suddenly dies in his psychiatrist’s office.
The Parricide Ending
There are different paths and reasons surrounding Stefan killing his dad, such as when he breaks down after learning that he’s being controlled by someone (AKA you) and his life was part of a conspiracy experiment called the Trauma Inception.
Regardless of the reason, Stefan ends up in jail for murdering his father.
The Double Homicide Ending
If you chose to bury Stefan’s dad, he will get caught before he can get back to finishing the game.
Then, either Tuckersoft founder Mohan Thakur or Colin will pay Stefan a visit to check the progress of the game. If Thakur arrives, it’s implied that he gets killed. But if Colin makes the trip, viewers can choose to kill him. Either way, Stefan ends up in prison for the double homicide and the game is never released.
The History-Repeats-Itself Ending
In this timeline, Stefan finishes Bandersnatch and it’s finally given a 5-star rating. But not long after, Stefan is put in prison for his dad’s murder.
Fast forward to today and you see Colin’s daughter, Pearl Ritman, attempting to recreate the video. It’s implied that she’s under control like Stefan was.
The Netflix Ending
This is arguably the most surprising ending out there. Stefan demands to know who’s controlling him and finds out (if you choose Netflix) that he is being controlled by “a streaming platform from the early 21st century.”
Depending on your chose, you’ll either end up having Stefan fight his psychiatrist or flee through a window only to discover that he’s an actor in a production.
You choose: See comparison to other Black Mirror releases
It wouldn’t be fair to compare Bandersnatch with other Black Mirror episodes since it experiments with a new format, allowing viewers to create their own journey. The story itself might not be as mind-bending as the ones that came before it, but the thrill truly is in getting through the maze on your own.
And if you’ve ever asked yourself “What would I do in this situation?” then you’ll finally get your answers.
You chose: End this review
The interactive element of Bandersnatch is making it a Black Mirror staple. It leaves its audiences distressed and drained—you might even be compelled to shop for a new video game to get you out of the rabbit hole.
Catch Black Mirror: Bandersnatch on Netflix with Globe.