Where do I begin…
The episode starts off light enough, as we’re introduced to Kenny (Alex Lawther), a 19-year-old who works in a fast-food restaurant. Things soon get progressively darker, however, when he falls victim to mysterious blackmailers. This leads him to form an uncomfortable alliance with Hector (Jerome Flynn), who has also succumb to the mercy of the unknown puppeteers.
That’s all I can really say, but just know that the ending is one of the most heavy Black Mirror has every produced. It’s also why Shut Up and Dance is one of this season’s best.
Minor spoiler talk:
So, the whole reason why Kenny gets blackmailed in the first place is because his sister uses his laptop. But surely, any normal person would have set a password – let alone someone with a big secret to hide. This gripe isn’t really that much of a big deal, though, as the rest of the script is pretty solid.
James Watkins is at the directorial helm here, and his background in horror and thriller definitely shows towards the final act of the episode. He also does a great job of matching the script’s gradual increase of suspense – one of the most tense episodes yet.
The use of music should be given a nod here, too, especially the use of a Radiohead track at the end, which truly put across the utter dread and despair of the situation – y’know, just in case it wasn’t obvious.
Yay, Bronn is back! And by Bronn I mean Jerome Flynn. You can never have too much Jerome Flynn.
Seriously speaking, though, the main cast performances here are top notch. Unfortunately, to say why they’re top notch would be to spoil a major part of the plot. Just know that Both Lawther and Bronn- I mean Flynn take the carefully thought-out script and build on it in their own wonderful way.
In a few words…
Shut Up and Dance us easily one of Black Mirror’s darkest and best episodes.