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  • Series Premiere Date: Dec 28, 2018
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch Image
Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 276 Ratings

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  • Summary: This stand-alone, "Choose Your Own Adventure"-style episode of Black Mirror (released ahead of Season 5 proper, which should arrive in 2019) is directed by David Slade and set in 1984, where it follows a young videogame developer (Fionn Whitehead). There are over five hours of footageThis stand-alone, "Choose Your Own Adventure"-style episode of Black Mirror (released ahead of Season 5 proper, which should arrive in 2019) is directed by David Slade and set in 1984, where it follows a young videogame developer (Fionn Whitehead). There are over five hours of footage altogether, but which parts you see will be determined by choices you make. Expand
  • Genre(s): Drama, Science Fiction
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 16
  2. Negative: 1 out of 16
  1. Reviewed by: Liz Shannon Miller
    Dec 28, 2018
    91
    If Brooker had taken a more literal approach to the idea of doing an interactive narrative, it might have proven dull. Instead, he took this as an opportunity to tell a story about how difficult telling stories like these are, really leaning into the meta opportunities provided by that approach while also indulging in some undergrad-level philosophical musings about the nature of free will. It’s a blend that works better than one might think, veering from comedy to pathos to horror with relative ease.
  2. Reviewed by: Jen Chaney
    Jan 2, 2019
    80
    There is a lot to appreciate within the many iterations of Bandersnatch, which is not just a mystery box show, but a mystery box show about mystery box shows that’s trying to play three-dimensional chess with its audience.
  3. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Jan 2, 2019
    70
    It’s admirably executed, tightly organized, well-thought-through and a lot of fun, if not particularly frightening or profound. The interactive mechanics are splendidly handled and designed; it runs seamlessly, whatever path you take.
  4. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Dec 28, 2018
    60
    The bottom line is that despite the promise of becoming a participant in the storytelling process -- and the allure of wedding games and narrative fiction -- a well-told tale, watched passively, still trumps a so-so one that fosters the game-like illusion of putting the viewer in the driver's seat.
  5. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Jan 4, 2019
    60
    Bandersnatch can be fun, if you’re entranced by its puzzle structure, or if you’ve always believed TV episodes would be better if only you could spend hours grinding through them again in order to watch 45 seconds of new footage. But it doesn’t make for much of a story. This is partly because the core plot is uninspired. ... It’s occasionally genuinely moving. But it’s not haunting in the way that comes from reaching the end of a story and realizing that the only “What now?” answer you get will have to come from you.
  6. Reviewed by: Kevin Fallon
    Jan 2, 2019
    50
    The interactive aspect of the viewing experience is seamless, and each adventure manages to be tonally unique and narratively distinct. But it turns out that when television starts to become a video game, the integrity of the story is muddied by the thrill of choice and control.
  7. Reviewed by: Daniel D'Addario
    Dec 28, 2018
    20
    "Bandersnatch," as creative work and not as experiment, falls so short of the standard "Black Mirror" has set that to put it forward is to risk the credibility the series’s first four seasons have earned. ... Too little thought, ultimately, was given to how this plays as television.

See all 16 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 64
  2. Negative: 14 out of 64
  1. Dec 28, 2018
    10
    Giving less than an 8 for this movie is ridiculous. If you complain that it seems unfinished you are totally wrong, its obvious that it isGiving less than an 8 for this movie is ridiculous. If you complain that it seems unfinished you are totally wrong, its obvious that it is impossible to create an infinite range of possibilities because of your choices and netflix did an incredible work at dealing with it.
    On top of that its an amazing movie that you can watch more than one time. Strongly recommend.
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  2. Jan 28, 2019
    10
    must watch! only look up endings if you don't get the possibility to relive again (if credits roll then you can't relive)
  3. Feb 12, 2019
    9
    Black Mirror is the modern Twilight Zone (you know before the new Twilight Zone) and constantly brings new and genuinely unnerving conceptsBlack Mirror is the modern Twilight Zone (you know before the new Twilight Zone) and constantly brings new and genuinely unnerving concepts to the table, showing the dark side of technology. And now they're changing the game again with this new choose your own adventure style movie. While only considered an episode of the series, I see it as a movie, as you could spend hours trying all the different combinations of paths to take. Bandersnatch takes full opportunity with its concept and instead of using it as a cheap gimmick and instead goes all the way and plays it into the story perfectly. The only problem I have is mostly a nitpick, I do feel that there were a few times that some of the paths had the same ending too many times, while it would've been complicated by I could have used a few more different endings. Nevertheless Bandersnatch is impressive and goes all the way with the idea, and is incredibly entertaining and one that everyone should experience at some point or another. Expand
  4. Feb 19, 2019
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Fun, but probably plays on the game too much, choose your own adventure should never be so interactive. I think that's the key, being able to choose without you being involved Expand
  5. Jan 9, 2019
    6
    It was fine. I like the innovative feel of being in control. But it felt as if there was no way. Whenever i wanted to to something, i neverIt was fine. I like the innovative feel of being in control. But it felt as if there was no way. Whenever i wanted to to something, i never had the choice. I only had the choice of bad and worse. I guess others had good endings, and i really tried, but at first i think i got the worst ending. It felt too random and too fragmented. I never quite understood what the story was about.. The guy? Insanity? Alternate universes? Us vs him? What is going on. Expand
  6. Mar 27, 2019
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Black Mirror, a Netflix unconventional movie where it is eclatant Netflix is making a commercial for itself which is I can admit something very odd, not in a negative way but unusual. It's a part where Charlie is asking who is there and then he sees a message telling him what's Netflix. „I am watching you on Netflix. I make decisions for you“. It could spoil a movie, you just don't get that movie satisfaction when they make some obvious commercial inside. I didn't quite catch that, they shouldn't bring firm name into the movie. I consider it a minor mistake but it could cost them the ratings. Again they did the self-promotion when he spills a psychiatric with a cup of a coffee, it's a cut-out scene of a movie and he does not know where he is and it's continuous.
    Charlie is a person with the mental problem and he is writing code for a game which is unconventional and it's made by a book where the reader decides what will happen so he is transferring the book data into the game. It is pretty obvious from the start of the movie, someone is 'playing his life'. What he does into the game someone, later on, we found who, a woman who is renewing his game does playing his life. Basically what you are seeing is what happens when someone press a choice „take the meds“ or „go to the Collin“.
    He knows something is wrong, he knows what is literally happening but I just like to be old school and to get the movie in a conventional way. I don't like that supernatural things where there is a monster which by what he is referring is eating your soul, a Netflix woman who is playing his life. I just get he is ill. He is not well. Netflix part is a figment of his imagination, he made it. He is keeping getting awake from the bed every morning and all the plot is what he dreams. He had a trauma when his mother had died and he is not sane. There are no supernatural things, he is just a game programmer who got even more screwed up when he saw his friend jumping off the verge of a balcony. The part where is seen they both have LSD hallucination is just a drug effect. There are no other ways of your life. If you die, you die. The part where is he jumping of a building is a fruit de mon what he thought that way, it never had happened. He had never jumped off that edge, his friend did and got killed. Later he is still talking with him, but as I told it's fruit de mon, ain't happening.
    What is the most annoying part in the movie is continuous going through the memory lane and the scenes are recycled. It feels like when you are watching the one and a half long movie you are watching one hour and another quarter is getting back and back. Thus when I thought it's over they displayed Collin again, he had already done the suicide and there was a lot of happening and then he is missing, he is alive. I just wanted the movie to finish, it was so tiring to watch it all over again and again.
    The movie is all about what happened to the original author of the book which we conclude got possessed and when he decapitated his wife's head got great book inspiration, that happened to him. Have you all noticed the game god five out of five stars when his dad's head was in his room and the lowest rating when everything wasn't so screwed up. It's a type of movie for those who like imagination, supernatural things and who like to think a lot but at the average viewer perspective, I could even say it is dense for people who want to watch a normal movie.
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  7. Dec 28, 2018
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. A barely coherent narrative that forgets to actually make sense in pursuit of allowing watchers to decide what it was about.

    The team behind this clearly wanted this to be a case where the watcher could decide what was really happening in their own head-cannon. The problem here is that instead of leaning into ambiguous themes and endings the show decided to force the viewer to do the work of making sense of the show altogether. This might have worked had the show not contradicted itself at nearly every ending. Some endings play it straight with the main character jailed for committing crimes, others end abruptly with the main character implied to have been killed by a literal demon, others end with the main character in a karate fight with his therapist who suddenly produces a pair of battons with which to fight it out martial arts style. And that's to say nothing of the ending where the main character ends up in the real world amidst filming of the aforementioned fight scene very much in character while his director berates him for deviating from the script.

    At times the show appears to be commenting on the nature of free will, others it waxes on about the permanence of reality amid a not so theoretical set of alternate timelines. Sometimes we appear to be watching the hallucinations of a rapidly deteriorating mind, others we appear to be watching someone struggle as some mysterious technology from the distant year of 2018 forces them to make bad decisions and others the show seems to just shrug and a literal demon kills the main character.

    At it's best it's an ambitious project that forgot it actually had to be internally consistent, at it's worst it's an enormous meta wink at the audience that feels not just out of place but down right confusing.

    Black mirror is often thought provoking, but this particular episode just didn't make enough sense - I found myself asking a lot of questions, not because the episode had anything profound to say but because it simply wasn't coherent one ending to the next.

    I'm baffled to see so many positive reviews for this poorly executed gimmick, don't waste your time - Bandersnatch isn't coherent, much less an enjoyable viewing experience.
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See all 64 User Reviews