Netflix creates a new era of film

By Yijing Shen, Distribution Manager

The Netflix Original series Black Mirror released a new film titled Black Mirror: Bandersnatch on Dec. 28, 2018. The film offers viewers an interactive experience, which allows audiences to decide the plot, in charge of the fate of the main characters, and eventually get their own endings by clicking the plot option while watching. This article may include light spoilers.

The story was written by Charlie Brooker, the co-creator of Black Mirror, who has composed some very popular episodes such as Fifteen Million Merits and Playtest. In Bandersnatch, the main character Stefan Butler is a young programmer who is working on a game inspired by a fictional novel named Bandersnatch.

The film has the viewer make minor choices until Stefan reaches Tuckersoft, a video game company that he producing the game for. From there, all decisions become more significant and complex. This keeps viewers engaged as each decision progresses the plot forward until you reach one of the film’s multiple endings. 

There are some elements in the film that could be seen as a tribute to the novel Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. For example, the key object that pushes the plot going on, the rabbit toy that Stefan was trying to find when he was a kid, is one of the major characters in Alice in Wonderland. Also, the scene that Stefan travels through the mirror to get back to the rabbit refers to “Through the Looking-Glass” in Alice in Wonderland.

If you have never heard of the interactive film, and just opened the Bandersnatch by accident like me, you could be confused at first. The show would still keep going on even if you don’t make any choice because the system picks for you. However, the Bandersnatch obviously wants its audience to participate. It leaves a hint in the middle of the film to the audience who don’t know the secret interactive mode by telling Stefan that he was controlled by Netflix.

According to TheWrap, there are five major endings for the show. I believe it will be more interesting to explore the new type of film by yourself. Find out your own ending and share with your friends!

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