With technology readily creeping into every facet of our lives, it is often hard to distance ourselves from the advent of the digital age, and access the sheer effect it has had on our lives. Charlie Brooker attempts this very feat with ‘Black Mirror’.
Previous to ‘Black Mirror’, Brooker had sustained a long career as a social and political satirist – think Charlie Pickering or John Oliver. Similarly, Brooker presented weekly talk shows, cultivating the week’s news into informative extended segments. Brooker’s journalistic background is readily evident in ‘Black Mirror’.
Through the shows seven movie length episodes, Brooker tackles everything from the disillusionment of modern politics through the way in which – and inherent danger therein, the digital age allows us to erase someone from our life. Brooker tackles each issue with gravitas and severity while tinging them with the morbid and the macabre. From the very first instalment, the often hard to watch ‘National Anthem’, Brooker explores the intricacies of the digital age with bleakness and an absence of even an iota of fear to explore what many of his contemporaries would never dare to.
Brooker’s boldness underpins every minute of this wonderful series. While each episode’s subject matter is hardly subtle, Brooker far from oversimplifies. Thoroughly and objectively, he wades through the intricacies of a changing world, presenting them in a human, approachable form. The subject is approached from ground level – human and relatable.
Supporting him is a wealth of British talent who bring Brooker’s wonderful tales of consumerism gone mad or the first true works of modern art, to life. The likes of Domhnall Gleeson (Star Wars VII, Ex Machina) and Jon Hamm (Mad Men) bring to each episode a quality of performance to rival any film. Each class performance is self-contained to that episode. Brooker extensively creates seven easily digested films, individual and unique in cast and location, but also tone. The post-apocalyptic ‘Fifteen Million Merits’ wallows in the bleakness of insurmountable societal structure while ‘Be Right Back’ is morosely hopeful, finding hope in the worst of situations.
The self-contained nature of ‘Black Mirror’ makes it an easy, self-paced watch – though the temptation to binge such a short and sublime series is readily apparent. As thought provoking as it is artful, ‘Black Mirror’s actors and directors curate some truly stunning episodes, which will undoubtedly leave you craving more of Brooker’s twisted, enrapturing worlds.
Black Mirror is available now on Netflix, with new episodes expected later this year.
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