#MildSpoilersAhead #Bandersnatch #Netflix
If there’s one emotion that the #BlackMirror series embodies, it’s helplessness. The frustration that stems from the futility of the characters’ actions, not very different from ours despite set in a dystopian world, is what made the series personal. I stopped watching the series after 2 seasons because I didn’t want to feel hapless and our myself through the grind. So, it’s with a pinch of salt that I started watching Bandersnatch, the new stand alone interactive film.
And #Bandersnatch was, overwhelming. Yep, that’s the word. Overwhelming, but not in the way I anticipated. The film’s interactive feature starts our slow, giving us comparatively easier choices. But slowly it becomes tougher. I picked choices based what I thought Stefan would want to do. But when you hit a road wall, that’s when it gets frustrating. As the series aspires to, you come to realise that ‘free will’ comes with a caveat. It becomes frustrating, but this is different from the earlier haplessness in the other Black Mirror episodes. My involvement is literal, through my choices, unlike my involvement earlier where the connection is emotional. Which is why while Bandersnatch was interesting exercise, it won’t leave me sleepless like its predecessors.
However, the meta-commentary here is pitch perfect (or should I say code perfect?). It’s almost the writers realised the various responses Bandersnatch might get and include it in the narrative using the video game as a front. Ironically, the game in the most gruesome route to the end, fetches a 5-star review (in the film). (Acknowledging the jibe, Netflix). It’s fascinating, sure. But the manipulation becomes evident, and without an emotional thread tying you down, it just feels like a maze that you stumble through, just trying to somehow get out.