{Review} Black Mirror: A New Realism?

Lauren Johnson

I would like to start this article prefacing that this review may seem, at best, a mosaic of ideas, which may not seem altogether cognitive. However, following the fragmented nature of ‘Black Mirror’, I thought it would be best to keep you guessing with each word, sentence and paragraph, in a disjointed mirror-like format, constantly questioning whilst receiving a view point.

The visual spectacle of each new episode remains loyal to ‘Black Mirror’s classic theme, with its shocking twists and turns of the narrative. As the fourth season breaks the internet, we enter unto new worlds of technological upheaval, questioning our morality, purposes, and mostly pushing human limits. These philosophical, anthropological questions demand answers: why do we love? Why do we memorize? Why do we exist? Or at least, what is the meaning behind these questions, and what do we hope to find? Are we the creator and the destructor, and are we lost unto ourselves? With the dawn of technological advancement, it seems like we finally begin to see ourselves as Gods. As we lose ourselves in its filmic representations of the horrors of our conquests and achievements, our carnal desires and our downfalls, ‘Black Mirror’ shows our deepest wants manifesting as an endless cycle of technological nightmares: giving with one metaphorical hand and taking with the other one. The long awaited and anticipated season has truly lived up to its previous glory and title.

We can see tremendous filming technique, visionary tales and exemplary acting, effectively pulling on our heart strings. If we are now, as an audience, meant to perceive ourselves as witness to these horrors, we are accepting that the aesthetic of violence is more than a fictional ideal. ‘Black Mirror’ employs this violence as a fictional device. With the release of the longest season to date, the viewer is finally given more of an insight into the dystopic world of ‘Black Mirror’. In fact, unlike the previous seasons, it crosses the American borders, shifting its focus to the US without a justifiable build-up. This progression not only broadens narrative capabilities, but it also shows how the technological span is more advanced than the expected: a singular, restricted experience, can become an international problem. I would suggest that ‘Black Mirror’ is the first in a new genre and a new take on “realist ideologies”. We are witnessing the issues of technology, after so many real disorders derived from the inappropriate and excessive use of Social Media, dating sites, and even the Dark Web. The idea of nihilism and creating a world filled with visual and acknowledged layers, might almost add a layer, the technological one, to Plato’s philosophy and his seven layers of reality. Moreover, and I would say, finally, ‘Black Mirror’ has attempted its first feature length project, titled ‘USS Callister’, which innovatively opens the fourth season.

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