Black Mirror: The National Anthem (2011)

I don’t know about you guys but I really don’t know where I stand on Charlie Brooker. I mean, sometimes he’s funny but otther times he can be a little arrogant and pretentious. Naturally when I heard that he was writing a new series I was sceptical. I was wrong to be. Care to find out why???

When the nations favourite royal, Princess Susannah (Played by Anna Wilson Jones) is kidnapped, Prime Minister Micheal Callow (Played by Rory Kinnear) faces a massive dilemma when the ransom comes through and demands that he has sex with a pig on live television. The episode follows the government as they try to find a way to save the Princess without following through with the demand. There is also focus on the general public and their reaction to the video, which was first released on Youtube and then Twitter.

This is a really disturbing show but I still consider it to be brilliant. In a press release, Brooker described the show as being like the Twilight Zone and to be honest I agree. I would, however, argue that Black Mirror is more complex than the Twilight Zone (I had to  watch it twice before I fully understood what it was getting at) because there is no Rod Sterling like narrator to guide you through the story. This isn’t to say that it’s smarter than the Twilight Zone, but perhaps it’s deeper. I think it’s disturbing because it shows what technology would do to us in this situation. There are constant references to its part in screwing up this situation. For example the Tweets the First Lady sees, or the picture of the porn star that they got to do the deed being posted online or the fact that the kidnap video was posted online to begin with. The list is endless and it shows that technology completely destroys the idea of privacy and that, one day, this will prove to be fatal. The acting is great, especially Lindsey Duncan and Kinnear, particularly during the lead up to the actual…thing…It’s very disturbing but increasingly brilliant. The story flows very well and you really see the panic rise in Callow as his plans fail and he realises that he’s gonna have to….Give Miss Piggy the porky cutlass….

Simply because you all knew I would…

Furthermore I think Callow’s wife is a total bitch but this situation affects her as it affects her husband, she is now a laughing-stock and her reputation is ruined. This links well with the idea that technology is dangerous and hurtful. When she sees those tweets about herself and her husband you really feel for her but her actions towards the end border on unforgivable. Nevertheless it helps to show how damaging this situation was. Finally I love the ending. The fact that the whole thing was just a piece of art to show that technology is bad is inspired, Brooker takes the message he’s trying to give and puts it within the show thereby increasing its power. Black mirror is a show with a message and I will eagerly be tuning in to watch the next episode.

A brilliant, albeit disturbing show, that follows well from the Twilight Zone. I eagerly await the next episode…



One thought on “Black Mirror: The National Anthem (2011)

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