Okay, I have now watched “Bandersnatch” 3 times. I’ve seen, at least I think I have, all 5 endings and I have some thoughts. First things first, just like my “Bird Box” review, this is going to be as spoiler free as possible. Okay, let’s get into it.
I need to say right off the bat, I LOVED “Bandersnatch”. I am a “Black Mirror” apologist, and I will never say a bad thing about the show. That being said, the show is amazing, so that will never be a problem for me. With “Bandersnatch”, I was completely fascinated, and totally engaged every time I’ve watched it. I really think the writing was exceptional. The acting was tremendous. The “choose your own adventure” aspect of it, for someone that has never experienced that, was awesome. Sure it could be a bit overwhelming at times, but that never took me out of it. The story that is the basis of this, I don’t know if I should call it a movie or an episode, maybe a “moviesode” we will go with I guess, was dark and bleak and everything I want from “Black Mirror”. The idea of creating a computer game in the 80’s is fascinating to me. I like to see the old tech compared to the new age stuff. I like to see how it used to be done. I also like, and appreciate, how the writers of the show are able to show us the bad side of technology in all decades. I feel like that is one of “Black Mirror”s main objectives, and they nailed it again in “Bandersnatch”.
As for the performances, man where they excellent. Will Poulter, as Colin Ritman, the genius game maker, was outstanding. I don’t get the hate that he is getting online. He was outstanding. I really loved his performance, especially his monologue when he and the main kid were tripping on acid. Craig Parkinson, who is the main character’s dad, was so good. He had this subtle way in his performance that almost made me feel bad for him, even though he may be a monster. Alice Lowe as the therapist was totally believable. I completely bought her as a psychiatrist. She pulled it off.
But the star, and rightfully so, was Fionn Whitehead as Stefan. He’s the main character and he was outstanding. The way he showed his character’s slip onto insanity was so good. I mean, it felt real, no matter what path you chose for him. To think that he had to act it out in so many different ways, to do all this different stuff, it is truly remarkable. That is a big time credit to his ability as an actor. And he was amazing. To see him go through all that was, it was just, WOW. To watch him deteriorate as a person, Whitehead really crushed the performance.
As far as the story goes, I liked the basic through line in all the various ways the story could go. It was essentially about our free will as people, and while free will may or may not be a thing, “Bandersnatch” did a great job of showing how we use, and let others, control it. Giving the viewer the choices, and having Stefan yell at the viewer from time to time was so cool and new and interesting. I continue to be blown away that “Black Mirror” can still surprise me. How they can still make me think. How they can still make me pore over episodes for days. How they can make me want to go back and watch episodes multiple times, it’s amazing.
I love “Black Mirror”, and in turn, I love “Bandersnatch”. I’m also definitely not done watching the “moviesode”, not by a long shot. I still have a whole lot to unpack in my mind. I feel like I will watch it a ton leading up to the new season, whenever that comes. For the time being though, “Bandersnatch” is a work of art. It needs to be seen by everyone. The choose your own adventure aspect is worth it alone. It’s tremendous, like everything else “Black Mirror” does.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He sometimes writes his articles as a choose your own adventure. Being a stay at home dad gives him a captive audience to help craft his masterpieces of blogging.
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