For those of you that don’t know Charlie Brooker is a satirist black comedian. Not afraid to state his mind and pose points that question base principles and morals. Black Mirror is a mini series of three episodes that do exactly that in a handful of different scenarios and ways. I’ll try and review them as best I can without giving away the story or endings but instead by covering the questions and feelings.
The National Anthem
The first in the mini series is a political thriller designed to highlight the power of the internet, the speed on information movement and the influence it can all have. The story hinges around a kidnapping that calls to a very graphic and obscene ransom. The situation progresses and slowly gets pushed along by the use of news and social networks, showing us that no matter how hard you try to cover something up, in this day and age it will always find a way out. The story works its way through to the conclusion. The story holds a twist that I had kind of seen coming and then finishes.
Whilst I could see the way the story was going and the twist that wasn’t really the whole point of Black Mirror. The series worked on two levels; The obvious which is the story and the second level which is really the impact technology is having. This episode really does highlight the power of the people and the internet and that in this day and age there is no way to stop anything once its out, it will always stay out one way or another. Everything, just stop and think about that for a second…
15 Million Credits
My favourite of the three episodes is possibly the most distopian of the lot, based in a very bleak future where everything is controlled by credits and advertising. The story shows the dull day to day life in this future with nothing to look forward to or really work towards. That is until the point where he meets a girl and everything changes, as always. He has a sense of feeling and a the desire to work towards something until it all goes wrong and then he has to try and fix it. Again the story ended in a bit of a predictable way but it was really well done.
This episode really touched on the current society of celebrity worship and advert driven life. The way that everyone wants a piece of that oh so perfect celebrity life and the cost just doesn’t matter, some people will do anything for the “perfect” life. But it just isn’t possible, nothing is perfect and everything has a more sinister side. The story touches on this but also the power to reject it or alternatively become just as corrupt.
The Entire History of You
Possibly my least favourite of the three, this story is based on memories and paranoia, something we all have one way or another. It’s set in a future where implants are available to replace our own memory storage, with added features such as recall, delete, edit etc, much like a modern day DVD. The story follows a paranoid lover who suspects the worst. The story was perhaps the most shallow of the series but was still quite good.
The episode was however possibly the most chilling and easy to relate to in a certain extent (Implants aside.) It shows us the dangers of solid information, in this case memories. It shows us that the natural human memory can be grey and uncertain at times, fixing events for us and sometime even forgetting all together where as with an implant the events are solid unadulterated fact which can have a lot of negative implications.
Even the title “Black Mirror” is deeper than is first obvious. It isn’t just a random title with no meaning. Its a bleak outlook term based on current technology, Black Mirror refers to that effect described by Brooker himself as “the cold, shiny screen of a TV, a monitor, a smartphone.” Which is very bleak title but very appropriate one based on the nature of the series and the modern world really. Now I’m no stranger to gadgets and all fancy toys but then again I do always hold a skepticism of every device, its security, over use and other such stuff. I always relish traveling away to a place with no toys, no gadgets, no internet. I often find it coldly refreshing.
Black Mirror overall is a bleak yet very applicable and sadly realistic view of the future to come based on the current progression of the world and its technologies. It hasn’t changed the way I’ll live but it has enforced my personal fears and reservations of using and abusing the toys of the world.