warning! mild spoilers: I try not to go too much into plot details but this review still has spoilers on settings and premise of the episode. so if you haven’t seen it yet and don’t want to be spoiled do not read.
“Nosedive” is the first episode of the new series 3 of Black Mirror (available on Netflix). The episode wasted no time as viewers are immediately introduced to it’s colorful, satire world. All the characters wear brightly colored clothes and are very polite to each other. But maybe a bit too polite? You can almost say it’s almost ‘robot-like’ how these characters greet, compliment and communicate with each other. They are always smiling, but their happiness seems to be flavorless and fake. It’s soon evident that everyone is desperately trying to maintain a veneer of niceness for each other. It didn’t take too long before this world became a chilling and somewhat creepy one, but it still maintaining an arch, bright, over-the-top tone.
When we are introduced to Lacie Pound, she was just another lost soul in this beautiful, strange world. She practices smiling in the mirror, she dressing blends in as it’s quite similar to everyone else around her, and she takes pictures of any nice looking things around her. But to what end? Lacie is trapped in a world where society is ran by a rating system. Augmented reality and a single ubiquitous social media platform let users rate all their online and in-person interactions on a five-star scale. Everyone in this brave new world walks around with a user-generated score glowing in front of their faces, and that score determines their value in society, their access to services, and their employability. So basically these ratings are a kind of parallel currency: get above 4.5, and the world is yours; drop much below 3.5, and you’ll be a pariah, unable even to rent certain cars or enter certain buildings. This is one of Black Mirror’s most concurrent concepts and is scarily ‘close to home’. I find this concept very interesting because this system is something that can be easily manipulated in today’s society. But would we be stupid enough to let the society run on a rating system?
Lacie is a well written character. Although obsessed with being well received, she is ambitious but fails to realize that this rating system is what’s stopping her from accomplishing more. Learning that in order to be able to afford to live in an exclusive estate, she must have a rating of 4.5 or above, she takes sharp calculated steps to try and boost her rankings, but fails and her ratings went on a downward spiral. But even after experiencing the dark sides of ‘the system’ and meeting people who really didn’t care much for it, she still seems naive to the situation. We all thought near the end she was going to be brutally honest about the world and spiteful to it’s mindless followers but she wasn’t and the story goes a different direction than most will predict. It wasn’t until the last scene she was finally understood what it felt like to be ‘free’. Say whatever you want, do whatever you want! Bryce Dallas Howard does a good job a portraying Lacie and all other actors/actresses in this episode passes over the mediocre mark.
The production values on this episode are outstanding. The cars, buildings and roads, and other technological advancements all looked futuristic. This episode is mainly outdoors, unlike most ‘future-depiction’ episodes of Black Mirror which are usually focused on an indoor or 1-3 location setting. “Nosedive” is definitely one of Black Mirror’s most expensive episodes, but sadly still doesn’t fall within the series top 5. In my opinion the episode lacks emotion and there were missed opportunities to exploit the concept into something far greater. Don’t get me wrong, it is a good, watchable episode, but failed to exploit it’s more interesting potential.
- Premise: 9/10
- Writing: 7/10
- Plotline: 7/10
- Acting: 7/10
- Production: 10/10
- Cinematography/Visuals: 9/10
- Sountrack/Editing/Efx: 8/10
Overall Rating: 8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆