‘Bandersnatch’ Will Snatch Your Bander

Jaydi Swanson, Views Editor

Sugar Puffs or Frosties?

Choosing between two cereals doesn’t seem like a choice that will change the fate of your life more than it changes your mood in the morning. But after watching Netflix’s new interactive movie “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch,” you won’t be so sure.

“Bandersnatch” follows Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead) as he creates a video game based off a book. Just like in the book, the player is given options, leading their character to a variety of endings.

As you watch, you are given two choices on the screen to determine Stefan’s next move. They start off basic: will Stefan listen to the Thompson Twins or Now 2 on the bus? This question is relatively insignificant, but as the movie progresses, your decisions will show you an entirely different plot with 1 of 5 endings.

Some choices lead to a dead end, sending you back to choose again. The storyline can get confusing when this happens. It requires a lot of focusing to remember what you did and did not force upon Stefan in your current path.

But the transitions are seamless. The movie doesn’t pause to wait for you. It keeps rolling, giving you a countdown that ends in a subtle camera angle switch to adjust the plot.

Looking past the mechanics, the plot is nothing special without your ability to change it. A boy with regretful past starts making a game and waits to see if it will succeed. But as Stefan notices that he is not in control, things get interesting.

All “Black Mirror” episodes contain similar themes, influencing the viewer to question humanity more than they already might. This eerie vibe is amplified in “Bandersnatch” when Stefan pays attention to his uncontrollable and irrational impulses and tries communicating with the viewer.

There are few characters who accompany Stefan on his troubled path, some of whom serve as fillers, like Stefan’s doctor (Alice Lowe) and his video-game idol’s girlfriend (Tallulah Rose Haddon). Others, such as the controlling dad (Craig Parkinson) and the all-knowing video game producer Colin Ritman (Will Poulter), remind us of the overlying question: do we have free will, or are we controlled by something else?

It’s impossible to not wonder what “fate” is after messing with Stefan’s. Does our every move influence the outcome of our life, down to what we eat for breakfast or what record we buy at the store? Or is everything already decided for us by some higher power that is allowing us to think our decisions matter?

Watch “Bandersnatch.” Explore all the ways Stefan’s life unfolds. But don’t expect to feel the same about your own life when you’re done.