Playtest is the second new entry in the third series of Black Mirror, and follows Cooper (Wyatt Russell), an American guy who’s getting in the trip of a lifetime while he’s young, whilst avoiding calls from his mother, and coming to the last leg of his world tour with London, where he hooks up with gamer Sonja (Hannah John-Kamen) via Tinder, hits the buffers cash-wise, as he can’t get any money out of his bank, but how to get a lot of money urgently?
Cue a job playtesting videogames, involving an interactive augmented reality device that not only is “more like layers on top of reality”, but for which a ‘medical procedure’ is required…
Directed by Dan Trachtenberg in a 2.10:1 widescreen ratio, and with a score from Bear McCreary, who worked together earlier on this year’s brilliant 10 Cloverfield Lane, Playtest is a slow-burner, with Wyatt Russell doing a first-rate job in this drama, with some neat special effects, and moments where it really grips you to your seat while you’re watching it, but even still, I started recalling other films and TV series of which I was reminded (although I could be wrong – you may think otherwise), a couple of which I’ll mention below, wrapped within a spoiler tag, so, while Brooker can’t be considered original, he can certainly put together an engaging hour of TV and is a very efficient ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ for the modern era.
Black Mirror: Playtest is available on Netflix from tomorrow. Also, click on the top image for the full-size version. The series isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but you can buy a DVD boxset of Series 1 & 2 and the 2014 Special.
Widescreen ratio: 2.10:1
Director: Dan Trachtenberg
Producer: Laurie Borg
Writer: Charlie Brooker
Music: Bear McCreary
Cooper: Wyatt Russell
Sonja: Hannah John-Kamen
Katie: Wunmi Mosaku
Sato: Ken Yamamura
Cooper’s Mum: Elizabeth Moynihan
Rick Peters: Jamie Paul
Scared Girl on plan: Jessica Nell
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.