Review: Black Mirror – ‘Crocodile’

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Chilling

Brooker outdoes himself with the aptly named, cold blooded 'Crocodile'.

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How far would you go to protect your past? Apparently, in a world with memory recall available for others to see, it’s very far in ‘Crocodile’. Spoilers ahead!

You could imagine that in a world of fraudulent insurance claims, this kind of device would be perfect for sifting through the liars in order to focus on those who have actually been hurt. Sure we have dash-cams for our cars, but we can’t be recording our every move just in case. The narrative begins at a rave, attended by Mia Nolan (Andrea Riseborough) and Rob (Andrew Gower). Driving home the following morning, Rob hits and kills a cyclist. Mia wants to report the accident, however Rob convinces her not to and they instead dump both the body and his bike in the lake.

Flash-forward fifteen years later and Mia is happily married with a son and has a successful career. In a separate timeline we are introduced to Shazia (Kiran Sonia Sawar), who works as an investigator with her device known as the Recaller. She uses the device to look into the “victim’s” memories in order to verify the claim. Finally we’re introduced to Brooker’s villainous technology that will inevitably become a catalyst for the episode. However, this direct gaze into one’s consciousness appears to be a clear violation of privacy, regardless of verifying a claim. Whilst performing a service within the episode, you can’t help but wonder what could happen if this machine got into the wrong hands and is used to unwillingly withdraw information.

However, back to Mia on a business trip and she is visited by Rob. It’s obvious that the incident has taken a toll on him, whilst Mia has managed to put it behind her. Now sober, Rob wants to make amends with the cyclist’s wife whom has never remarried or lost hope he will return. Anonymously, Rob wishes to write to her to inform her of the incident so she may finally get closure. Mia, both angry he pushed her into helping him dispose of the body and worried about her future, pleads with him to reconsider. When Rob tries to leave, Mia manages to overpower him and kills him. Moments later, a man is hit by a driverless pizza van.

This leads to a spiral of events where Mia desperately tries to cover her tracks, in a world with technology that can see into your mind. Mia demonstrates how damaging the technology can be in the wrong hands as she uses it to steal information from Shazia, in order to continue covering her back. Riseborough’s phenomenal performance manages to allow you to empathise with her character, whilst also fearing her. You begin to question how far she will go to protect herself and her family. Would you go that far? Where would you draw the line: one, two, three murders? Or, once you’ve committed one murder, you’re already going down if you’re caught, so you may as well do anything to stop that.

Brooker’s ‘Crocodile‘ is chilling throughout and once again questions our reliance and manipulation of technology for our own adgenda. Of course, most creations begin with good intentions, however do we really outweigh the pros and cons before releasing the inventions? Shazia had a device that was able to see into people’s minds, yet she kept it in her own house and had no protection for her safety or that of the Recaller. Whilst the ending is grasping at straws slightly in order for closure, the episode lends itself as one of the most horrific Black Mirror episodes created.

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2nd year English Literature student from Wales. Big fan of indie/rock music, food and my dog.

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