Shut Up and Dance is the third episode in this third series of Black Mirror, and the best of the new run so far.
After a mysterious car park scene, the bulk of the story centres around young burger joint employee Kenny (Alex Lawther). Thanks to his sister letting his laptop attract some malware, and with him enjoying the pleasures of his own flesh to the tune of whatever certain internet sites have to offer, it looks to be heading down the same path as Cyberbully, as the laptop’s webcam leads to messages popping up, beginning “We saw what you did”, with threats to release images and video of his happy finish.
He’s subsequently drawn into a situation with middle-aged Hector (Jerome Flynn, above-left with Lawther) where you spend most of the episode without a real clue what’s going on, but it’s fascinating in the waiting for that discovery. In fact, since it doesn’t define everything within the drama, so it’s the vagueness that draws you in, until it’s ready to reveal its hand.
There’s some great lines in this, such as when one observes of their situation, “Pictures hang about on Google like a gypsy fucking curse!”, and it cracked me up at the madness of it all, and when I said “What the fuck?”, so did one of the lead characters!
Overall, Shut Up and Dance is a more consistent episode in its pacing, and was less about fancy futuristic technology, and more about creating suspense, which it does brilliantly. And with both main actors being on top form, it helps you forgive Flynn for his godawful ‘music’ career, many moons ago.
Black Mirror: Shut Up And Dance 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: 1.78:1
Director: James Watkins
Producer: Lucy Dyke
Writers: Charlie Brooker and William Bridges
Music: Alex Heffes
Kenny: Alex Lawther
Hector: Jerome Flynn
Woman in first scene: Susannah Doyle
Tom: Frankie Wilson
Red: Jimmy Roye-Dunne
Melissa: Hannah Steele
Restaurant mother: Sarah Beck Mathe
Restaurant daughter: Beatrice Robertson-Jones
Lindsay: Maya Gerber
Sandra: Camilla Power
Moped man: Ivanno Jeremiah
Petrol station attendant: Mariam Haque
Karen: Natasha Little
Bank Clerk: Nicola Slone
The man in the woods: Paul Bazely
Penny: Leanne Best
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.