[TV REVIEW] Bandernsatch experiments with new storytelling forms

Fair Use Image: Netflix

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Television and technology are an ever changing advancement in entertainment. Studios and streaming services are constantly changing their remedies, searching for viewers lost cravings. Consistent television watchers have seen everything from three dimensional TV’s to a show about frozen zombies and dragons. Although, new developments have occurred within Netflix, one of the leading online streaming services: a movie that will take the viewer to the ups and downs of life, and the most hideous places of human creativity. The most wonderful part of it all is that it starts with a simple choice, made by the viewers themselves. Yes, Netflix has taken the video game elements of a choose-your-own-path game and converted it into a thrilling and twisted film: Bandersnatch.

Set in the early 1980’s, a time of huge development in video games, Bandersnatch tells the tale of a computer programmer, Stefan, delving into the creation of the perfect game. Only, the perfect game consists of deception, multiple realities, and real life murder. Basing the video game off of a book of the same name, Stefan, played by Fionn Whitehead, is presented with multiple choices throughout the movie. These choices could be as simple as picking the music he plays, though the beautiful part of the game comes down to the hard ones. The watcher gets to completely shape not only the video game but the mental stability of Stefan. This only allows the movie to move further into the narrative of pick-your-own-adventure. One could even say the viewer almost becomes Stefan, although that’s for them to decide. The full effect of multiple narratives is strong throughout Bandersnatch, it is the entire base and functionality of the story. This is something that hasn’t been seen, or at least often. Pick-your-own adventure books have been around for ages, but director David Slade has taken on the modern aspect of television and put in any home that has Netflix. Now viewers can witness what it takes to be someone in Stefan’s position, and that is something that’s underratedly wicked when it comes down to certain choices.

Pick-your-own adventure books have been around for ages, but director David Slade has taken on the modern aspect of television and put in any home that has Netflix.”

Another of Bandersnatch’s strong areas is the casting. Fionn Whitehead, who again plays Stefan, seems like he was meant to play the character. A combination of intelligence, delirium, and a deranged mental went into Whitehead’s strong performance. Based on which way the user goes on their adventure just brings more out of the up and coming actor. Standing opposite Whitehead and the only other real main character in the movie is Will Poulter’s, Collin Ritman. Ritman serves as a mentor and huge figure in Stefan’s life, and does so in the most mind bending way possible. Possibly an even stronger performance, Poulter’s Ritman is the perfect brain to Stefan’s psyche. He serves as a very strong character who will tantalize any viewer of Bandersnatch. A less present but strong performance is also led by Stefan’s therapist, Dr. Haynes played by Alice Lowe. Lowe manages to pull off an incredibly haunting yet extremely intelligent performance with only minutes of screen time through the whole movie.

The effect of Bandersnatch is huge in the modern world. Both through the way the story is played out and the plot line itself serves as a strong commentary on the forthcoming advancements in technology. A strong point that’s made from that is: how much should we really change? Although this is a very new form of movie, it’s not one that will ever be applicable to large masses. These types of movies will never be able to be shown in theaters due to the sheer number of viewers, and watching over a movie of this sort can start to feel a bit repetitive. More like a video game itself than a movie, Bandersnatch will be a hard movie to build upon for Black Mirror, the creating show behind the movie. What can be said for Bandersnatch is that it’s a huge accomplishment on just making the movie. The quality of writing and production that needed to take place for such a movie is incredible, along with simply just putting together hundreds of different storylines and somehow working it out. Therefore, Bandersnatch will be known as the first of its kind, along with an enthralling story in itself. The movie has its drawbacks, but most importantly what needs to be recognized is that it’s a very intelligent movie that viewers of Netflix will continue to experiment with for the near future.


⭐⭐⭐ 3 out of 5 stars

Print Friendly, PDF & Email