Black Mirror: Bandersnatch A Study on the Illusion of Control and the Potential of Interactive Film Open Access

Liederman, Alexander (Spring 2020)

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The world of media is changing. In an era of saturated interactive content, the Netflix film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (David Slade, 2018) marks an important reflection on the convolution of media and the immense business potentials for new types of interactive content. In this thesis I seek to analyze Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and its use of interactivity in relation to the self-reflexive, meta-referential themes while also addressing the history and theoretical foundations of interactive film and speculate on the business potential of interactive content. I argue that Bandersnatch interweaves the illusion of control for viewers through a symbiosis of narrative themes and interface. This potential for combining the function of the interface into a direct theme within the narrative marks an important storytelling potential for interactive film. To fully unlock the potential of this type of content, I argue that interactive film should be understood as its own medium rather than a sub-genre of film or video games. Understanding it as a unique medium allows for further development of monetization and hence additional production of interactive film. I argue that the existing metrics of user analytics can used by Netflix and other companies to further progress commercial potential. Interactive film is an exciting new frontier into the possibilities of storytelling and further enhanced monetization, but risks being discarded as another cinematic gimmick. Further understanding of interactive film as its own medium and development of existing commercial metrics will allow for further production of compelling new interactive content. 

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch 

1.1 Black Mirror and Bandersnatch: A Brief History…5-11

1.2 Interactivity and the Interface…11-15

1.3 Film Summary…15-25

1.4 Themes…26-34

1.5 Critical Reception…34-40

Chapter 2: Interactive Film 

2.1 Definition…41

2.2 Historical Overview…42-49

2.3 Theories…49-56   

Chapter 3: Business Potential

3.1 Current Landscape…57-61

3.2 User Analytics…61-69

3.3 Product Placement…69-76


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