***Spoiler Alert Ahead. Watch the movie before you read!! You won’t regret it!***
I just finished watching Black Mirror: Bandersnatch in my english class, and there is a lot I can say about this movie. Bandersnatch is this really cool and different movie that is like those books you had as a little kid, the books where you could choose your own ending. You would reach a decision point and the book would say, “Turn to page 20 to do whatever or go to page 49 to do the other option”. That is the defining feature of Bandersnatch.
As a little kid I would always read the choose your own ending books, and always pick the ending that I thought would end the story the quickest. That way I could tell my teacher and my mom that I had read a whole book, when in reality I had just read 20 pages. However, when watching Bandersnatch I did not take this approach. I wanted to explore all the different endings and choices, and truly make the story my own. As Dave Streitfeld writes in his NY Times article, “The idea behind the interactive push is simple: Viewers will care more if they are complicit.” This idea that Streitfeld brings up is one that resonates with me. When in class and making decisions, I would get a little upset if the class didn’t vote the way I wanted. And if their decision made the story restart (aka the wrong decision) I felt really good. I liked to know that I picked the “correct” choice. I also liked to be able to choose what the characters got to do. Whoever wrote Bandersnatch created these characters, but by the end of it, I felt like they were my characters. I felt like I built the characteristics of Stefan, Colin, and all others on the show. And I think that being apart of the decision of what they do is directly what made me feel that way. I also read an articles from from the New Yorker and the Librarian Shipwreck to give me more context and ideas on the movie.
So to me, the message of Bandersnatch is quite simple. It is that every decision you make is important. However, it took me awhile to come to this conclusion. The first choice you are given in the movie is between two cereals. I believe that this decision is unimportant. However, every decision that follows that leads you to a different ending. There are multiple endings to Bandersnatch and depending on your previous decisions, it dictates the ending you will receive. So to me the story was about how one decision can change the course of multiple events.
Since we watched Bandersnatch in English class, there had to be some sort of English class connection to the movie. We watched the movie to analyze how it relates to Postmodern tenets. Bandersnatch exhibits many tenets of Postmodernism. One of the main features it exhibits is called Metafiction. Metafiction is this idea that the author knows the literature they are creating is artificial and they let you in on this. This is shown when Colin is explaining to Stefan that the decisions are already made for them, and they personally cannot make any decisions. This is metafiction because the author is clearly stating that the characters understand they are not in control and we are. It is interesting when you compare that to our lives and wonder, “Do we really have control over our actions?”. It is an interesting question nonetheless, and I definitely would recommend this movie to anyone with spare few hours.