The story weaves in the notion that the choices we make essentially create alternative realities, but in a way not much deeper than the historical musings of teenagers in smoke-filled rooms. And while the producers encourage the viewer to try different options and explore potential avenues of the story, the manner in which the narrative keeps circling back to the main through-line becomes numbing and repetitive the longer the experience drags on.
The logistics of “Bandersnatch” thus become the most intriguing aspect of it. Hours of footage were shot to accommodate the different possibilities, and the movie can run from 40-some-odd minutes to 90 or more depending on the paths taken.
By that measure, give everyone associated with the stunt — including “Black Mirror” creator Charlie Brooker — an “A” for effort, but maybe a “C+” for the execution.
If nothing else, Netflix has demonstrated that the service has a shiny new toy at its disposal, having been clever about using surprise premieres to spur excitement for projects that often don’t really merit much (see “The Cloverfield Paradox,” which abruptly dropped after the Super Bowl).
“Bandersnatch” is worth watching — or perhaps studying — as a snapshot of where interactivity might be heading. But like many a holiday gift, the temptation after one or two plays is to put the thing away and leave it there until the next iteration comes out.
“Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” is currently playing on Netflix.