Bandersnatch: A Journey of Interactive Storytelling
"Life is but an illusion of choice"
"We are part of infinite timelines"
"Free will is farcical, everything is a construct mostly orchestrated by the government and society"
"We can change the past"
More then One Film
These are just a small sample of the many themes this interactive film tries to illuminate during its run time. A run-time that may last anywhere from 10 minutes, to several hours. This film doesn't seek to answer any of these questions either, instead allowing the viewer to ascribe their own reality construct to events, choices and themes throughout the story.
Great films almost always challenge the viewer to question or reinforce their particular sets of beliefs. It often wrestles ambiguously with multiple themes and undertones, but rarely do we get a movie that is so encompassing. From overt to subtle, this film grasps your hands to the controller and doesn't let go. Themes about creative ingenuity quashed by greed, or the intimate struggle of emotional distress and underlying mental illness. How certain life choices and actions can have a ricocheting effect on ones psych when in a fragile state. The forces of self choice vs predetermined destiny.
Perhaps the reason it is so noticed in this film, is because you are in control of the decisions. Bandersnatch forces you to think, pay attention and process information differently then a traditionally linear movie. Body language, tone, prior decisions all weigh much more heavily on the mind when their interpretation invokes the end outcome of your path.
Strikes just the right tone
There is actually a good amount of humor in this interactive movie. Just when things get too heavy and dark there are some light moments. Then film doesn't take itself too seriously and if you play for awhile you will get to see all the parts I am talking about (I won't spoil them). One wouldn't think that a story about a video game being developed during the 90's could be so deep, but it speaks to the craftsmanship of the product. It earns all it is trying to go for and more. It can be frustrating at times,but the film does an exceptional job at pacing, especially considering you have to start over multiple times. It took us two hours and we got most endings. If you are a fan of foreshadowing, it is in here a plenty.
I really enjoyed this Netflix original and highly recommend it. I watched it with two other friends and that made it a lot more enjoyable as we shouted out what we wanted the character to do and argued the right course when we veered off the tracks. And trust me, shit gets intense.