Th Black Mirror Xmas Special, White Christmas aired on Channel 4 this week, and was quickly devoured by yours truly.
While holed up in a mysterious cabin during a snowstorm. Matt (Jon Hamm) tries to get his quiet housemate Joe (Rafe Spall) to open up over Christmas dinner.
This seventy minutes of television – which even held against the lofty heights of Black Mirror’s previous episodes – was an exercise in master storytelling. Show creator Charlie Brooker is truly working on another creative level here. In keeping with the theme of the show, Brooker uses our obsession and reliance on technology to show humanity’s ugliest traits. The two pieces of tech showcased in White Christmas (Zed eyes and “Cookie” clones) are futuristic to be sure, but, as per usual, are presented in such a way that seems plausible. We in 2014 aren’t there yet, but are most certainly on a trajectory to get us there sooner rather than later. And that is half of what makes the show so chilling.
Aside from that, I just had to slow-clap how brilliantly the episode played out. Split into six parts, it actually functioned nicely as an anthology with Joe & Matt telling each other stories about how they wound up snowbound. What I found especially delicious about the episode was how the first two stories were actually well disguised exposition to payoff the conclusion. Brooker really is a mad genius. But it is more than just him. The direction - here by Retreat's Carl Tibbetts - and effects are always so slick and serve the story. Nothing ever feels trite or out of context.
|Jon Hamm as Matt Trent in Black Mirror's White Christmas.
Hamm is so perfectly cast in this that I have to wonder if the role wasn’t specifically written for him. He delivered Brooker’s dialogue with an air of confidence and persuasiveness that served him as well here, as it has on seven seasons of Mad Men. I wonder if Matt Trent could perhaps be the great-grandson of Don Draper…
So, whether you are already a fan of Black Mirror, or never heard of it before, White Christmas is a must watch. Brooker’s newest parable is a clever, yet simple yarn about where we may be headed if technology continues to rule our lives.