Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (TV Movie 2018) Poster

(2018 TV Movie)

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Is it really under your control?
ahmetkozan28 December 2018
Bandersnatch feels like something completely new. It was an awesome experience. You are the factor that can alter character's story for better or worse. Even the supporting characters are influenced by the decisions you make. There's a different end for everyone depending on your choices. Netflix says that there are 5 "main endings" with multiple variants of each. When you watch it again after watching, it makes you feel like you're watching a different movie. Netflix has found a way to make it a deeply personal experience. You feel responsible for the character's choices. It's really fun to have the options in the hands of the audience. And for a first attempt, Netflix succeeds. You should watch it. - I saw people who couldn't get the message the movie wanted to give. I recommend that they watch carefully. 9/10
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String Theory/Parallel Universes
drm264229 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Reading reviews on here I'm noticing two trends. People are either blown away and praising "Bandersnatch" because it is new and different, or they hate it because they think it is boring and doesn't really give them actual choices. For the later this is somewhat true, but there is are symbolic reasons for the character getting a do over every time the viewer 'kills' him. I'm curious what would happen if instead of picking a 'bad' choice, I picked the good one first. I would imagine some of these 'good' choices would create a similar loop, which is kind of the point. I also want to note that I've only watched the episode/movie/entertainment event once. So if I'm missing a few things, apologizes. I think a lot of people are missing the point of this episode. It's not about the game Stephan is making. Nor is it about the choose your own adventure style that the episode presents to the viewer. This episode is about parallel universes and string theory. Particularly the aspect of string theory which theorizes that there are an infinite amount of parallel universes where EVERY possible outcome to EVERY choice we make exists. This is why after the first 'reset' (the one where you decide to work at the company instead of working from home) Colin suddenly has read the book Bandersnatch, where as the first time through he says he has not. Other evidence that points to this are all the Easter Eggs in the episode. The dogs from "Metalhead" or even the symbol that Stephan keeps seeing (this was the tattoo/symbol from "White Bear"), are examples of parallel worlds bleeding through. The best evidence of this though is close to the end of "Bandersnatch". When Stephan goes to retrieve his rabbit from dads special safe, if you choose to put the code PAC in instead of TOY you get two very different outcomes. PAC makes it so dad is really a government agent studying Stephan. Everything in his life is false, even the memory of his mother leaving, which is shown to be an elaborate set up with an actress pretending to be his mother. TOY on the other hand makes it so you have to option to go back in time and place the toy under the bed after dad takes it away. This will ensure it to be there when mom comes to get Stephan for the train. Now think about this for a moment. In one instance mom is a plant and Stephan's life is a lie. In the other instance his mother is real and as far as we can tell dad is certainly NOT a government agent. Which is real? Both. Because with parallel universes there are an infinite amount of universes with an infinite amount of Stephans leading every possible life they can. In some Stephan's mother is alive and dad is dead. In some both parents are alive, while in others both are dead, etc. Every possible outcome is out there. For some reason Stephan is in touch with these other versions of himself. I believe it has something to do with his intimate understanding of the book "Bandersnatch" and his transference of the book into the video game. This is allowing him to see and in some cases interact with other realities, but keep in mind these are other realities not his own. If you choose to have Stephan jump off the building while on LSD for example, yes the loop resets and you, the viewer, start over, but the Stephan in that reality is dead. The story continues with a Stephan in another reality who did not make that choice. This episode is a lot to take in, so I can see why some people don't like it as much as others. My suggestion would be to go back and try it again. Make some different choices.
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Great idea but... Meh
anama9828 December 2018
The overall idea behind an interactive film is great and it was a good attempt. However, the film kept taking you back to the same options over and over again until you chose the one you hadn't seen yet. So, for me it was dessesperating and I felt like it didn't actually give me much of a choice, if I dint chose what I was "supposed" to, then the film would keep looping. Maybe that's the point but I'm just not a fan, I had bigger hopes for an interactive film.
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I am one of the few whose mind was not blown away...
gcarpiceci29 December 2018
So, I am going against the main stream here (can't remember the number of reviews mentioning "mind blowing"....) I thought the base concept of Bandersnatch was pretty original and the execution extremely ambitious; the main problem I had with it was that the executional device (the interactivity) ended up hijacking the story in so far that I was more carried away by the choices I had to make than by the flow of the story itself. The way the plot is constructed is like a glass maze, where you keep wandering around and after a while you realise you are where you were a few minutes before; so, in the same way, I found myself watching several times the same sequence and, in all honesty, after 3-4 times, it started being a little repetitive. In reality, this is more of a videogame where you want to "win" by making the choices that brings you to the next ending, and this took away the sheer pleasure of watching a story. But in the end, the deadly sin of Bandersnatch is that the story is not that interesting, so the idea of watching it in loop (all of it or just parts of it) was not really motivating. Sorry, it did not blow my mind away...
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Who is there?
a_mind_astray29 December 2018
The graphics and music were great, and the transition was smooth at the "crossroads". But the story... It didn't feel like much of a story, and then I felt pushed into making choices that I did not want to make. I think it captured the choose-your-own-path game feeling, but to me that didn't really feel right in a movie, everything felt too simple and a bit too forced. It's great that Black Mirror wanted to do something innovative, which this truly is, but because it is Black Mirror all the endings feel wrong. In a game like this, you play for the best outcome, but here, you just play to see what else you can get.
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Ultimately Unsatisfying & Messy
zkonedog7 January 2019
I consider "Black Mirror" to be the best anthology series since Rod Serling's "The Twilight Zone". That's how highly I regard the show. Unfortunately, when it comes to the choose-your-own-adventure interactive "Bandersnatch", I left the experience wishing a "normal" episode or film had been released instead of this experiment.

For a basic plot summary, "Bandersnatch" tells the story of Stefan (Fionn Whitehead), a computer programmer in the 1980s who is working on a path-choosing game at the same company as his idol (and fellow master programmer) Colin (Will Poulter). While creating the game, Stefan becomes convinced that someone else is controlling his actions, much like the characters he himself is creating.

With such a unique concept as "Bandersnatch"--letting the viewer choose certain decisions for the characters--both the plot and convention must be evaluated. In this case, however, it is difficult to untangle one from the other, as the filmmakers intentionally break the fourth wall on numerous occasions. In other words, it is impossible to separate "the plot" from "the choices".

Though there were a few things that "Bandersnatch" did which intrigued me (mostly located in the first 20-30 minutes of the experience, the poor star rating ultimately came down to this for me: with every "wrong" ending I took--thus having to go back and try again--I felt a bit more removed from the overall story and thus my stake in the characters. To be honest, it is almost the exact same emotion I experienced while reading choose-your-own-adventure books as a child. They were fun for awhile, but after a time I became fatigued by the back-and-forth and wanted to get back to more traditional storytelling techniques.

This is to say nothing that with every back-track, I felt like I was continually being taken out of the plot and having to remember what was happening. This worked for about the first half hour or so, but after that it got really messy for my viewing experience.

So, while I have to give "Black Mirror" at least some credit for putting a new idea out there for people to experiment with, at the end of the day I wished I would have had more of their standard episodes instead. To be completely honest, I don't think that this type of choice-based content watching will ever be more than a fad or gimmick, although of course that remains to be seen.

For this viewer, however, I prefer to be able to relax and enjoy one story carefully crafted by a team of filmmakers. Adding in audience participation just makes things really, really messy when all is said and done.
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Oh dear
goldstones-3359228 December 2018
Could have been great but the story was so boring. Also you often don't really have a choice as you just keep getting sent in a loop until you make the "right" choice to move the film forward. Kudos to Netflix for making an attempt, but could have been so much better.
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Good concept, mediocre movie, poor choices.
gabrielgiurca-39-5005481 January 2019
Bandersnatch is not a new experience by any means, although it is new for Netflix. There have been games like this for many years. However, for this particular title the choices are rather uninteresting and there isn't really a "choice" when you are choosing between very close actions. Basically whatever you chose gets you to similar points so not really a choice based ending. I don't think the choices were very wise chosen and overall the plot of the movie was not very great. I mean it's interesting but nothing new or groundbreaking compared to other episodes from Black Mirror, that is, mind you, a darn good TV show. I think an interactive movie based on Juniper City or Metalheads episodes would've turned much much better. There is also some sort of disparity between what you chose, what the character does in the movie and what happens in the scene. Meaning that somehow you choose what the other characters are doing with your choices instead of the main character, and that's also a bit confusing and a bit of a drag for me. So overall I recommend this title for it's novelty, but not so much for the script and general idea. Worth your time though, just for the sake of it.
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Black Mirror on Crack
zack_gideon28 December 2018
This is groundbreaking. Can't really get a grasp on it. Who ever wrote this mapping is a genius. This is the future and Netflix owns it. Need to watch it again and choose sugar puffs instead of frosties. This is like a video game but a movie and makes u wonder so many things on the user pathway.

Mind blow! Netflix treading into new waters. I wonder what I missed by making the wrong decisions or right ones. There must be so many different endings....or not. I won't tell you mine. Fun ride! Want more of these. Maybe for a horror film?
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A new experience, but that's about it
Rediith28 December 2018
It never occurred to me that something like this would someday be tried. Kudos to Netflix for trying to push the boundaries of what is possible through this medium. That said, the whole thing felt like a game. A fascinating game because of the novelty, but I felt none of what usually a good film would elicit. Yes, there was a lot of anticipation of what would happen next, but overall, due to the frequent pauses to choose, there was no continuity or involvement in the story per se. Some of the choices too felt pretty childish. The idea that the character was actually feeling like he had no free will and felt compelled to do things as though someone (the viewer) was controlling him - well, it brings a smile the first time, but later, feels like something that perhaps a smoked-up teen would find mind boggling. Overall, yes, definitely something that people would be thrilled to watch and try, but I sincerely hope we do not have a lot of this type of interactive films - at least not at the expense of "normal" films.
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Not as good as the hype on here would suggest
contact-8626328 December 2018
Despite the hype I see in the comments ("Mind Blown!", etc, etc) and the clever attempt by Brooker to make a multi-pathed story, the end result barely hangs together as a credible plot.

While it is fun to "control" the main character, the novelty soon wears thin and you come to realise you, the viewer/controller, just have the illusion of choice over what the character does when in actual fact you don't.

I suppose that is the point of the film, but it is hardly earth-shattering nor ground-breaking.

I'm giving this 5 stars for at least making a good attempt at a multi-path interactive film. However, as many who are raving about it now will see in time, it really falls far short of a good film. Novelty value can never replace a good story and a good story is something you will not find here.
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Am I The Only One Who Understood This Movie?!
gerimease5 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
There are so many bad reviews here that say "We kept looping back to "x" point in the movie until we made a different choice..." and for that reason they found it boring, and lengthy, etc. This was not about having the novelty of an interactive movie. That was not the point at all.

The point is that Stefan references so many times that he feels that he is being controlled by some force (which is us). But, all the looping and replaying of scenes if we don't choose certain options is what the movie point is about. We, like Stefan are being controlled. If we do not make the correct choices, we are brought back until we do. We are controlled. Maybe it's Pax, maybe it's not. We are supposed to feel the helplessness that Stefan felt at being controlled by our choices. Now our choices were taken.

I can't believe how many 1 star reviews there are because people simply didn't understand this point of the movie. I actually found it quite clever and when I got it, I smiled. The movie itself isn't the best, but I give it a 9 out of 10 based on the cleverness of it all.

Don't go by the 1 star reviews. See it for yourself and don't get wrapped up in the fact that you can make interactive choices in the movie. That wasn't the point at all.
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Obvious, Gimmicky, & Tedious.
funksunone29 December 2018
Stefan, the main character, is shallow lacking any significant qualities other than being a shy computer nerd. The surrounding characters are equally as shallow. They are uninteresting and static. I suppose this is all in service of the obvious gimmick at play here - it's hard to create an in depth story when it's essentially a stripped down adventure game. From the first ten minutes, before the decisions became significant at all, it was incredibly clear what the eventual outcome of the plot would be. Black Mirror is often intentionally on the nose to prove a point, but usually it manages to pull it off with a strong narrative and interesting characters. This has neither, and as a result the message behind the scenes feels clunky and mismanaged. This episode shows it's hand right out of the gate, self referencing everything fans of Black Mirror will recognize. It does so with the subtlety of a wrecking ball through a home. The constant stops and resets of the plot drained any interest I had in the possibility of discovering multiple story paths. Just when I was starting to get engaged in the story everything would grind to a halt and remind me that I'm watching an interactive video and not a world I can fully immerse myself in. As a result, the film feels entirely disjointed, like a rough edit where the editor somehow forgot significant scenes that tie the narrative together.

The narrative remains unsatisfying by never quite landing on its feet, while the interactive portion becomes tedious after the second or third course correction.
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Waste of time!
bdsam3857 January 2019
I wanted to quit watching so many times but stuck it out hoping the ending would be be worth it. It was so boring and the story was pointless. Wasted time I won't get back.
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I think some here are completely missing the point
cjb_smith5 January 2019
It's very clever and very dark (but then Black Mirror always is). I do agree it's a bit prententious in places. Having now watched all of the 5 endings, and not without some exasperation, and yes repetition, the penny dropped that Bandersnatch is all about choices and the choices you think are under your control. The outcome is pretty bad no matter how you choose because the ultimate destiny is not in your hands. Choices in life are not always good versus bad. It asks more questions than it answers and while that might not be satisfactory to some, that's the whole point.
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Utterly monotonous
fletchy-5735428 December 2018
Choices are pointless if you are forced to redo them when they "wrong". Characters are dull and lifeless, really nothing of note here..
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What a waste of my life
roxanneallen-7034929 December 2018
Have never written a review on here, but I felt I had no option after the absolute disappointment I felt after watching this mind-numbing, boring attempt at doing something different. My partner, who does not understand why I did not like it, keeps pointing out that something cannot be boring if you don't know what is going to happen. That is true, however, in this programme everything you chose led to a more uninteresting storyline and after every 20 mins made you re-pick the "right" answer, actually giving you no choice at all really. Which then meant you had to rewatch the same boring storyline over and over. And yes... I do know they point out that really we have no choice at all in life and that we think we do, blah blah blah... but did it have to be so boring. It got to a point where I actually wanted it to end, not that far in the story. The only reason I continued to play along was that I felt I had the right to know what the ending was after I had watched and played along for a certain period. It was all just a very dull attempt to do something different. Could of been a lot better. Perhaps they should of "tried again" with this one.
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maximusa-2260329 December 2018
I'm a huge fan of all 4 seasons of black mirror but this interactive "Movie" thing imo wasn't entertaining. It became redundant and confusing. It just didn't have the classic weird unexpected and at times frightening character of the Black Mirror season shorts. Some may like to be involved me prefer the screen writers entertain me with their story lines.
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Good idea, but terrible execution.
tonyaydiner29 December 2018
I've never written an IMDB review before, but the 8.7 score this programme had on here has prompted me to try and correct this artificially inflated score. I can only assume that the first few thousand scores are all put in by the makers, actors, associates etc of the film itself, because the real seserved score is way lower.

The idea that you can control the story at first seemed like a fun idea, and it would be if the choices you made enabled you to reach the end of the film. Because when we make a choice in life we arrive at an outcome. In this film however if you make a choice which is "wrong" then the film pauses and you have to go back to where you were before in the film and make the other choice for the plot to keep moving. I mean WTF? There basically is no choice, you have to eventually make the choice the film wants you to apart from stupid things like what cereal to eat and what type of music to listen to on the bus.

If every choice could have led to an outcome, then would this have been better? Yes, but actually the plot is slow and dull, characters are cardboard cliches and there was no suspense. The best thing about the movie was the 1980's backdrop and references, but you know a film is bad when the most exciting thing about it is when somebody references 'John Menzies' and this gets you more excited than anything else.

The film centres around a game trying to get a good review. Well the film could have taken a leaf out of its own book. Should have been a lot better.
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rdmcflyers-9524729 December 2018
I think Netflix wants us to believe they are the smartest people in the room with this boring story. no matter how you choose if it's not what they want it will repeat until you do what they tell you to. I sure hope this isn't bad omen for season 5.
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Black Mirror Bandersnatch: Mixed bag
Platypuschow4 January 2019
As I write this I'm hugely torn, Bandersnatch is a wildly unique experience yet is a mixed bag of genius and unrivaled stupidity.

A Netflix original interactive movie Bandersnatch tells the tale of a video game programmer and his gradual mental deterioration.

First of all let me say I adore interactive movies when they're in video game form, from the Tell Tale epics to Heavy Rain (2010) and Beyond Two Souls (2013). The concept really suits me and opens up new doors within the entertainment industry so I'm surprised that this isn't done more often.

Sadly if you think this is the start of something on Netflix then think again, the interactivity gimmick is part of the entire thing. I can't say more without going into spoiler territory but it's a real shame that it won't proceed from here.

The interactivity within Bandersnatch is at a decent frequency, not too much and not too little. The problem is that ultimately your decisions don't mean anything, at all. If you're expecting multiple story arcs you'll be sorely disappointed.

Which poses new questions, such as why create such a movie with this gimmick if they aren't going to fully utilize it? They had an opportunity here to do something really special and the thoroughly blew it.

When you take a step back however and don't focus on the interactive element what you'll find is an interesting enough feature. Starring Will Poulter it looks the part, has a solid 80's feel and soundtrack and was a great trip down memory lane for a person of my generation.

Reminding me oddly of The Butterfly Effect (2004) I have to say that the movie (Taking away the interactive element) isn't the most engaging tale but certainly comes together in the end and delivered what I would consider a freight train of a finale. I'm not going through it again to see if there are alternate endings, but based on what happens throughout and how ultimately choices are meaningless I'd be surprised if there is more than 1 additional.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is potential wasted and a grand scale.

The Good:

Some great writing

Very nostalgic

Solid 80's soundtrack

Incredible finale

The Bad:

Gets very repetitive

The decision based gameplay is ultimately pointless
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Why bother?
phyphor6431 December 2018
I was forced into alternate choices around 50% of the time because mine was "bad" I guess? Why bother if you're going to just rewind and make the viewers choose the other one? I understand the length is short but it feels cheap and not meaningful because of the forced alternatives.
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Great concept. Well done. Pure entertainment.
matthewlinz28 December 2018
Thx Netflix. Its really entertaining even when you dont like the cast or show itself. The fact that you can chose the path or destiny for the maincharacter over and over is awesome. At first i watched the movie with my wife and made the choices. When it ended we started again and my wife made them. At the end we saw two different movies and had a lot of fun. Please add more!
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lubuzhoutai7 January 2019
If you like watching the same crap 5 times in a row until you finally select the answer they want then this is for you!

Seriously.. I don't think I've ever been so triggered with anything I've ever played or watched before..
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Game changer
g-fiddes30 December 2018
Sad to see negative reviews dragging this down! Granted it's not perfect but it's going to be the bench mark for any such show/film going forward and people picking it apart due to looping back and some of the choices not really being choices are the same type of people that would probably complain that the first colour TV was not colourful enough!
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