Sugar Puffs or Frosties? Reviewing Bandersnatch

KC staff writer Rachel Rosenblatt reviews the interactive Netflix film Bandersnatch.

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Sugar Puffs or Frosties? Reviewing Bandersnatch

Sugar Puffs or Frosties? A seemingly simple question determines the fate of the main character in the interactive film Bandersnatch.

Sugar Puffs or Frosties? A seemingly simple question determines the fate of the main character in the interactive film Bandersnatch.

Rachel Rosenblatt

Sugar Puffs or Frosties? A seemingly simple question determines the fate of the main character in the interactive film Bandersnatch.

Rachel Rosenblatt

Rachel Rosenblatt

Sugar Puffs or Frosties? A seemingly simple question determines the fate of the main character in the interactive film Bandersnatch.

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Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

I never thought I’d be so distraught over a simple choice between two types of cereal, but that is one of the many decisions I struggled to make while watching Netflix’s interactive film, Bandersnatch.

The film focuses on a troubled young man, Stefan, who is making a video game based on a choose-your-own-adventure novel by the same name as the film. While watching, a choice popped up on the bottom of my screen. I was using my phone at the time, so within a short ten second window I tapped on the word Frosties, deciding Stefan’s breakfast cereal.

The seamless transition to the next scene was riveting. No fade to black, no cut in footage, but straight into the next moment without hesitation.

Choices began to range from the mundane to the extreme as Stefan’s life spiralled out of control with me as an accomplice. What music should Stefan listen to on the bus? Should Stefan accept drugs from his coworker? Should Stefan fight his therapist or jump out a window? Should Stefan bury or chop up his dad’s body?

Not only do we decide Stefan’s fate, but he becomes aware that he is not choosing his fate. Most paths lead to Stefan questioning his own sanity while yelling at us, the bystanders, to offer some proof that we exist; that he’s not going crazy. An experience so very meta gave me proper goosebumps, since Black Mirror never shies away from providing a solid amount of discomfort along with their overall disconcerting theme.

Black Mirror’s characteristic darkness shone through with each unsettling second of Stefan’s journey to both madness and self-awareness, clarity and confusion, success and failure. Every ending sparks a new question, so I can’t help but go back and see how a single different choice can influence a new ending.  

For anyone who has an interest in diving into the mind-bending, wild ride that Black Mirror always promises to its willing participants, I offer Bandersnatch as your new guilty pleasure. Just try not to get sucked into the world of multiple realities, because after seeing one ending, you will want to see them all.

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