Have you seen Bandersnatch yet? If not, you have. In another reality, a parallel one. There are realities that run parallel to each other, splitting off at every decision being made. There is one where I never wrote this, and one where I write the whole paper, but luckily this realty’s Ms. Russ stops me from that. Bandersnatch takes that whole idea and runs with it. Stefan is a reality trampling monster, that breaks the lines of the universe to continue his destructive path. This interactive film shows a boy, suffering from numerous mental illnesses, losing his sense of reality after we take over his life.
Here are the basics: Stefan is a teenager working on a video game called Bandersnatch, based off one of his dead mom’s books, all while suffering from mental disorders. Now when I say this movie is interactive, I mean that when I wanted Stefan to take his meds like a good boy, the game came out and got a 2.5/5 rating.
This whole movie made me question my sanity. If you follow our new friend, star programmer, Colin Rickman in the beginning of the movie, he will teach you about parallel realities, and how the government controls us. This of course, is hogwash. Until you watch the movie more.
If you decide to stay with the game company, the game comes out to another 2.5/5 rating, but when you go back, Stefan knows what Colin is going to say before he says it. The film constantly has you skip back, until you realize that Stefan isn’t going back in time after each ending, he is going into a parallel reality.
Now I’m going to venture off into spoiler territory, so if you have not seen the movie, stop reading here. We need to talk about some of these endings. The fact that the only way Bandersnatch can get a 5/5 rating is to chop up your father is absolutely morbid. All paths that involve Stefan getting better end up with the game receiving a worse rating. There is no good ending. There is even one where Stefan “goes back in time” and joins his mom on the train and dies with her. Turns out, he dies in present time, too, right in front of his therapist and grieving father.
Netflix gives no good endings in this film, and I think that’s the point. They are giving us the illusion of free will. No matter what we do, no matter what decisions we make, we will always end up with depressing endings. If Stefan works with the company, boom bad ending. If Stefan takes his meds, boom bad ending. The only way to see Stefan finish his magnum opus is to do something so morbid that I can’t go into detail.
This film, however, lacks in one main place. The story feels very light and never really explores its mystery. There are all these great story lines set up like whether or not Stefan’s father may be working for a deep state government agency, but it never answers those questions. The interactivity, however, makes this film good. The feeling of having control on how the story ends up makes this film more interesting than it really is.
Luckly, season five is being filmed right now, and may be coming out by the end of this year. Until then, I’m going to keep searching for the one true good ending.