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I have only seen the first two installments of this series and but was
impressed enough to leave a review. Charlie Brooker has popped out of
the internet at times when I least expect it revealing the more
unsettling aspects of our culture through his program Screenwipe and
others. That was my first exposure to Doug Stanhope, a comedian who
among others brings us closer together via demonstrations of how media
and technology are changing our society and rarely for the better.
Black Mirror arrives in the form of anthologized science fiction in the
vein of the Twilight zone. It is a series that examines our society's
relationship with the media and how it allows us to both shape our own
identity and imprison us in a space where empathy and truth are
weaknesses and something to hide in order to get ahead.
I have always been interested in futurists and Brooker seems to fill the requirements for one. There is nothing in the first two installments that do not reflect current trends in our collective behavior but instead extrapolates where current trends in communications technology; avatars, social media and reality television might lead us if we do not seek to preserve what is beautiful and pure about our collective consciousness and humanity.
Having seen reviews here that feel there is no commentary embedded within these stories I couldn't disagree more. As the title suggests, Brooker's Black Mirror shows us a dark reflection of our selves and allows us to evaluate these scenarios through our own emotional filters.
There are no blatant soap box messages but I interpreted the narratives as cautionary tales and would hope that no one, when confronted with them, would hope for these near futures. The only thing holding them back from becoming reality is our own resistance to complacency and purely spectator culture.
Beyond these philosophical aspects, the program is incredibly well produced and executed in my opinion. The characters and sets create convincing realities and I was never once drawn out of the story due to poor acting, scripting or characterizations. I could not recommend this series more and hope that it will continue on. Congratulations to Brooker and company for their work and their apparent concern for all of us.
This is the biggest surprise i came across these last couple of years. This series is one of the best i've seen. Every episode is unique yet criticizes the same absurd society we're living in. I was shocked at the great filming/acting/directing and of course writing of these different stories. My personal favorite would be episode 2. The most futuristic but also the most accurate representation of what most of our lives look like right now. Just saw in a review that a guy stopped watching after 20 minutes at the second episode. That's the biggest mistake he could do. Definitely the best episode. I wont miss anything else Charlie Brooker does and i'm patiently waiting for the DVD to come out. I hope this also gets a Blu-Ray version and maybe some new episodes after wards?
To sum up this series for me is quite easy, It's a dark look at what
could be, and a very deep look at the worst of human nature.
The cast and set are different every time, but one theme I found recurring was that each episode was extremely haunting, and it definitely gets the viewer thinking about what could be if the world was just a little bit different. I don't think Black Mirror will appeal to everyone because some themes are a slightly uncomfortable especially in the pilot episode. So far the actors that have been cast have done an amazing job, and the writers have managed to make some far fetched ideas seem graspable. Basically this series is unlike anything else on TV and for that it gets a big thumbs up from me.
I don't want to write any spoilers, but what I will say is this if you want a drama with dark twist or a series that is completely Original make it Black Mirror.
The creativity is the main problem, especially in modern culture product till 2000's. We always seen main concepts, same approaches and same faces on our TV's, and cinemas. Even trying something different and genius, has become very commonplace. But Black Mirror is totally different and witty. You need only five minute watching to understand this. Different point of view, different stories, different but natural talented faces... Some ideas in this artwork could be disturb you, but this makes it consummate. It questions your life, routines, choices you made, the basic code of ethics you have... At the end, you only feel the happiness of awareness. Thank you for showing me something different than usual, thank you for make me more aware.
After watching the first episode, I was shocked about the negative
reviews it received. I'm going to be honest, it wasn't what I expected
but that doesn't make it bad. It was very dark, and very shocking; Had
me completely on the edge of my seat throughout. You will have to watch
it with an open mind as it is somewhat distasteful and well...
extremely far-fetched (Which is pretty absurd for a satire, but I
digress.) I did thoroughly enjoy it however, it hit all the right
After watching the second episode, I was left in shock about the jarring contrast from the first episode. It's so different than the prior, it's set in an alternate reality and is just.. unusual. Still dark, still intriguing, but didn't quite capture my imagination the way the first one did.
The third and final instalment was probably my favourite of the 3. It was again, completely unrelated from the previous 2, but it had a really interesting concept and narrative, and was executed phenomenally.
All in all, the series as a whole is very interesting, if somewhat inconsistent.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This ridiculously short series is brilliant. There are three episodes,
each a bleak and dark story about how the modern, internet and
technology filled world could plunge us into hell. The first, is one
set in the present. What is so fantastic, is that it is something that
could happen tomorrow. The fictional princess is kidnapped by an
unknown person and a video ransom is posted anonymously on YouTube
bizarrely saying that unless the (fictional) prime minister had sexual
intercourse with a pig live broadcast on every British television
channel in four days, she would be killed. The story is gripping, the
actors are brilliant and realistic, and the episode is also fabulously
directed, adding in little things such as over the course of the four
days the prime minister's hair seems to thin out of stress of knowing
what he must do. This episode certainly shows you just how terrible the
internet could be if it gets into the wrong and powerful hands.
The next episode is one about a hopefully-far future, where everything is commercial and false, and everybody is trapped and must play games to make false money to spend on false objects. They feed out of fake food-dispensing machines, which gives out fake, packaged fruit. It is an entirely commercial world, and there appears to be no outside. It shows two attempts to escape from the drag that life has become, each working, to an extent, before it becomes just as fake and dull as before. The way this is done is by going on an exaggerated, satire of a talent show and winning it. It features a lot of references to how people take the Nintendo Wii and gaming seriously, internet advertising and how wrong it seems and talent contests and how much they are a scam. A lot less realistic, yet again it is thoroughly entertaining and makes you think about how that could be where the world is going. The animation and product design is fantastic and so realistic. This episode also casts Julia Davis and Rupert Everett as the evil talent show judges who both do brilliant acting.
The third is a dark 'love' story set in the near-future about how wrong it could be if people could re-watch their memories and show others. People seem to be forced to have small chips implanted behind their ears so their vision is being recorded and can be played back on any screen using a small tool and a super-fast, Wi Fi that is everywhere. It's idea is that people could become obsessed with the past and search their memories for tiny details, eventually causing insanity and a bad ending. It follows a man who obsesses over the behaviour of his girlfriend at a party the last night and the idea that she is having an affair with a man he clearly hates who was at the party. It (very psychologically) goes through him trying to find out whether she is having an affair or not, and eventually completely loosing it and using the memory-viewer, proves that she is. The 'proof' though, is never revealed to be completely genuine. In the end, he realises his life has been ruined by the memory-viewer, so, using a blade and tweezers, cuts out the memory-viewing chip. The product design and effects were the best yet, the chips behind the ears and the creepy way in which when people view their memories their eyes glow a dead white, which adds to the foreboding and tense atmosphere.
I never knew how intelligent Charlie Brooker was until I saw this. Utterly phenomenal. I have never seen anything like this on Channel 4 and certainly recommend it to anyone who is open to wacky ideas and darker subjects.
Thank you for reading.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Charlie Brooker is a great satirist: funny and clever, and, although often crude, in 'Black Mirror' he certainly isn't pandering to the lowest common denominator (in spite of the fact that the first film is about the prime minister having sex with a pig!). Indeed, he (and his collaborators) show themselves to be skilled film-makers: in this trio of short stories about how technology is changing our lives, two have a sci-fi feels and the understated way with which a future world, subtly different to our own, is conveyed, with a minimum of carefully deployed special effects, is a lesson to Hollywood with its obsession with spectacle and its inability to understand that less can be more. Yet while Brooker's films are delicately made, there's a certain obviousness to the points he is making; while he's extraordinarily skillful in imagining the details, there's less below the surface than you might hope for. I found the middle film the most convincing (and indeed moving), and exactly because it was most explicitly a fable; in the others, Brooker's merciless eye is also not a little heartless. But Brooker deserves credit for not standing still, and settling for making new series of 'Screenburn' ad infinitum; 'Black Mirror' may only be a partial success, but it's bold and fresh and worth watching, even if it's not so much deeper than the world it's taking apart.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Usually I try to keep away from dystopias, because I can't bear their
gloominess and pessimism. When I started watching Black Mirror I only
knew that it's a criticism on modern society. But I didn't expect to
see that shocking, dark, disturbing projection of present in the
future. But once started watching I couldn't stop. I watched and
wondered what dark tale I'll see next.
I absolutely adore UK TV shows, because they are a gripping and absolutely unique blend of comedy and drama, and distinguished English humor always is a ray of light even in the most tragic circumstances.
Black Mirror is not like that. No humor. No ray of light. Only shocking truth.
In majority of the science-fiction films the future technologies are just a part of the society and it isn't shown how they affect our lives in details and on minor levels. Well, Black Mirror shows that like no any other film or show. It shows how new gadgets, technologies, social networks and entertainment industry imperceptibly slowly and steadily change our perception, change worlds (Waldo's Moment), societies (National Anthem, White Bear, 15 Million Merits), life of individuals (The Entire History of You, Be Right Back).
Each episode deserves a separate review, separate kudos, but I'll express shortly my thoughts on each of them here:
1. The National Anthem - the first and the best episode for me. I'm totally freaked out by it. By the society who gathered to watch the most humiliating forced act committed over an individual. If only few people from this mob refused to watch it they could prevent it. But they didn't...
2.15 Million Merits - unlike other episodes, which describe life and situations, in which one can easily imagine and find oneself in today or tomorrow, this episode is totally futuristic. It contains an exaggerated image of modern society: unified people with unified lives zombified by TV. Sometimes in this world appears something real, something beautiful, something innocent. Then it's broken. Sometimes somebody resists. Then it's sharply made the part of the system again.
3. The Entire History of You - basically it's a family drama. The future technology from this episode can be useful for people with bad memory, and can turn into in evil by pricks, who like to think about their past relationships. The evil in this episode is also that with the help of this technology main character humiliates his wife in a way that no one has right to do, because everybody has a right for the private life, even spouses.
4. Be Right Back - we see a beautiful girl Martha who resists the influence of modern gadgets and obsessive social networks etc, but eventually starts dating a software and what comes out of it.
5. White Bear - a society must have a code. If there are crimes there must be punishment. But even a death penalty and Lynch Law are more civilized and merciful than that what we have here. The law can't be sadistic and entertaining. Otherwise it's not law, it's a crime.
6. Waldo's Moment - do you want to be ruled by a cartoon which stands for nothing, thinks nothing, offers no decisions, only farts, insults and makes jokes about its d..k? Well, they want.
To conclude, if you want to broaden your horizons, watch UK shows.
I found myself irritated with one of the reviewers who gave this
mini-series a terrible review because it left him feeling "disturbed".
Ermm.... I think that's the intention....
As many others have pointed out, the series is superbly put together: the actors are great; the script, if anything, is minimalist and the production excellent.
This isn't reality TV. This picks out the darkest aspects of how are future in this this modern age could end up, in extremis....
Personally, I think it's a Facebook/Twitter/Flickr/Android/iPhone/Tab/internet horror story and whilst I think it's probably too brutal for most people, it is a reflection of how we give up and of ourselves to the digital, overwhelmingly public way that the world now wants us to be.
I love the show. Will it change my FB or other behavior? No but, truth be told, I might be watching out of the corner of my eye....
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw the adverts for this series, and it was after seeing that it was repeated that I noticed Charlie Brooker was the creator, and being a huge fan of his last drama Dead Set I was certainly going to watch the three episodes. Episode 1: The National Anthem, sees Princess Susannah (Lydia Wilson) kidnapped, and as ransom for her safe return the demands are that Prime Minister Michael Callow (Quantum of Solace's Rory Kinnear) must have sexual intercourse with a live pig and it must be broadcast on all news channels. After many attempts to solve the problem with alternatives, such as locating the kidnapper hideout, this disgusting act is forced to happen, but the Princess was released before the deadline, and even though Michael's career continues his social and home life is less good. Episode 2: Fifteen Million Merits, sees a bleak automated Britain where people are forced to live inside a place where to earn credits for food, and enjoy visual entertainment, e.g. pornography from Wraith Girls, they must constantly ride on exercise bikes, and they lose merits for buying food and skipping entertainment. Bingham 'Bing' Madsen (Psychoville's Daniel Kaluuya) decides to help out new friend Abi (Jessica Brown Findlay) get her chance to become a singing star on X Factor style talent show Hot Shot, with judges Judge Hope (Rupert Everett) and Judge Charity (Julia Davis) and Judge Wraith (Ashley 'Bashy' Thomas). This costs him 15,000,000 merits of his, but he is not bothered as he does not do luxuries, but in the end she ends up on Wraith Girls, and he only "gets out" by speaking his mind about the system, but he remains in near solitary. Episode 3: The Entire History of You, technology has allowed people to store all their memories, such as conversations and experiences, in their heads with the help of super chip placed near behind their ears, and they can look back and experience any of these again. Young lawyer Liam Foxwell (Toby Kebbell) starts suspecting his wife Ffion (Jodie Whittaker) is having an affair with a man called Jonas (Tom Cullen), and he is looking back on any memories he has that would suggest this, and obviously he forces her to show her memories and confirm the suspicions. The series is a great satirical play on the significance technology has played in the world, the first episode focusing on the Twitter age and news coverage, the second on the impact of applications and talent shows, and the third about image capturing, and obviously the title Black Mirror refers to ourselves being part of all this, it is a must see drama mini series. Very good!
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