Pac-Man Will Never be the Same

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Sophie Laurence, Campus Life Editor

Within the last few years, Netflix’s own original productions have grown in popularity, but one of their most successful series’ has been Black Mirror, a series about a future where the effects of technology lead to destruction and unrest. It’s described as being suspenseful, psychologically thrilling, and mind-twisting.

Netflix’s announcement of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch had a lot of people asking questions. It’s considered an “Interactive Movie”, but what does that mean?

After some scenes, where the main character, Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead), needs to make a decision, the audience gets to choose between one of two options. Some decisions seem pointless, like deciding which kind of cereal Stefan should eat for breakfast but, as you go deeper and deeper into the story, the decisions become more difficult to make. Two and a half hours in, you’ll find yourself wondering, “Should I have chosen the Sugar Puffs over the Frosties?”

The story follows Stefan Butler, a video game designer in 1984. He’s writing the code for his own video game, Bandersnatch, based off of a book written by Jerome F. Davies, who suffered from a mental breakdown while writing the book, resulting in him murdering his wife. Stefan clearly suffers from some illness himself  — he is pictured multiple times taking some unnamed red and yellow pill from a prescription bottle in his bathroom. As the film goes on, his symptoms become worse and he slowly becomes aware that he is not in control of his decisions, seemingly heading down the same path as the author he so strongly admired.

According to CinemaBlend, Netflix says that there are five “main” endings, but because of slight variations, members of the Black Mirror team argue that there could be up to twelve. Director David Slade said that there are some scenes that even he can’t access. “There are scenes that some people will just never see,” Slade said. “and we had to make sure that we were OK with that.”

I had to turn my light on. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch was the first of Black Mirror that I have ever seen, but I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. As I watched, I wrote down every decision I made, and rereading it made me wonder what would happen if I chose the opposite. I originally planned on starting over, choosing the opposite of what I chose the first to see what would happen, but, honestly, I’m scared to.

Don’t get me wrong– the movie was great. The actors portrayed their characters perfectly, and the choices of music and camera angles made me feel like I was there, feeling what Stefan was feeling. It was almost too good, and at the really intense parts, I would find myself completely lost in the scene, which for me is a tell-tale sign that I’m really into what I’m watching.

I will give you a warning: If you are not ready to rethink and question the world around you, do not watch this movie. I was anxious and uneasy, which made going to work more miserable than it already is. Everything that happened made some sort of twisted sense, and reinforced the now-very-prevalent idea that maybe Big Brother is watching.

Everyone should watch this movie. Not only is the concept of an interactive movie groundbreaking, but it’s really fun and truly a well-done movie.

I’d even go so far as to give it five out of five stars…