Analysis of 15 Million Merits

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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“In the running series of Black Mirror, there is a film called “15 Million Merits” that was directed by Euros Lyn. In this film, Lyn puts us in a reality where everything is media based. The people that settled in this world, live in a real representation of media that is 24/7 and people are not allowed to take their eyes off the screen, or they will get a warning, and it is considered a crime. Within the construct of this reality people have to ride a stationary bike to earn merits, and this is how people pay for everything they need.

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Also, if someone saves enough merits, they can buy their way onto a game show called “Hot Shot”, a show like today’s “America’s Got Talent” where they perform in front of a panel of judges. If they are chosen, they become the hot media for other entertainment. Throughout the film, we follow a man named Bingham Madison or Bing for short (played by Daniel Kaluuya). Bing is a pretty wealthy man with 15 million merits, but he has no plan of going on the game show Hot Shot.

Later on, he meets Abi Khan (played by Jessica Findlay). He hears her singing in the bathroom, and falls in love with her voice. Believing in her, he buys her a ticket for 15,000,000 credit entry fee to “Hot Shot”. This wipes out his entire credit bank, leaving him with about 8,000 credits. When they get there they are under surveillance by we can assume whoever constructed this show and they chose Abi to become a Porn star which is very heartbreaking because all she wanted was to become a singer like her idol Selma Telse (played by Hannah John-Kamen). However, in the end, the global village conveniences Abi to become what she desperately did not want to be. Then Bing earns the Merits back to get on the show and threatens to kill himself because they took the only thing that felt real to him. Everyone else is stuck in Plato’s cave while Bing saw what reality was like when he was with Abi. also everyone is so hung up on what is fake instead of trying to find what is really like Bing they are all stuck in the Hyperreal and they all want to become the Spectacle like Selma.

Media models in 15 Million Merits 

The Hyperreality

Connecting the film to the third edition of “Media and Environments” edited by Barry Vacker many topics are explained in the book that represents different scenes in the film. Such as Hyperreality, we see an example of this at the game show “Hot Shot” no one is there but the judges. The people are watching, but their avatars that the people made are their projected on a screen. Make it look like an audience that is in a Madden video game. Relating this to the book is when Vacker uses Jean Baudrillard maps overtaking territories this is happening in “15 Million Merits”. Vacker says it best “We like to think media as a map for our world…but in many ways the situation is reversed- the media maps are generating the territories to which our culture and consciousness conform (pg 59).” concluding that the map has fully taken over even the people are taken over by the map with their avatars. We also get a great example of this when our main character Bing says “Show us something real (53:07 of the film).” because in this reality nothing is real anymore relating it to the Hyperreal. Looking deep in the situation of what this new reality is we can relate it to Plato’s cave, and it is perfect representation on Hyperreality. Here is a summary of how Vacker explains Plato’s cave “In Plato’s farmed allegory, the prisoners were limited to viewing the shadows and images on the wall, unable to exit and discover real reality in the sunlight outside the cave (pg 61)”. Since the beginning, their reality has been fake the people that are stuck there that is their reality. Connecting it to the film people living in this reality are chained to their bikes and all they are only allowed to see what is on the screens that are provided for them making Plato’s cave a perfect example of what the film is.

The Spectacle and Hyperreality go hand and hand the only real thing separating them apart is the fact that the Spectacle can be anything humanity deems worthy of their attention. The Spectacle is shown in the film. Humanity in the reality of “15 Million Merits” deems that “Hot Shot” is what is worthy of their attention also relating to another media model in “Media and Environments” Hot Media. Vackers viewing on Hot Media is “Hot Media deals with higher densities of matter, molecules, atoms, events, energy, humans, and, thus, high friction. In proximity, entities can rub or smash against one another (pg 40).” meaning that everything makes copies and copies and copies of one thing in different forms. An example would be Alexa and Siri; they are entities that rubbed off on one another. If we take Hot Shot and relate it to Hot Media and how everyone wanted to be like the Spectacle of the show Selma everyone performed to be a singer or the next hot singer that everyone can listen too. Also to take into account a quote used in the book “Media and Environments” by Neil Postman who wrote “Amusing Ourselves to Death” was that “Entertainment is the super-ideology of all discourse on television (pg 64).” relating to the Spectacle. The super-ideology is used in the film when Bing finds himself back on “Hot Shot” threatening to kill himself like in the movie Network. Bing goes on a rant about how nothing is real anymore and how the reality they live is almost pointless, and one of the judges sees what he is coming from and wants to use his rants for others entertainment since Bing is speaking the truth such as how Howard Beale spoke the truth in Network. People can relate to him, and they see him as a way to spread the truth for others pleasure.

Media Models/ Themes in Society

I saw that Daniels life was living through technology. The technology that he was using was not really that cool. In todays generation technology has very much enslaved us. It really made some people around the world care about things that will never exist in their life. What really caught my eye is that Abi was trying to make him feel as if he was living that type of life. The people who created that society i feel as if they have had good intentions on keeping the society stable. I see it as if how hard you worked will worthwhile show how valuable you are to that certain society. Also it shows you the cost of everything in your own currency system and thats the cost with working for a living. Mental cases and sociopaths will utilize innovation as an outlet. Ethic laws can’t stay aware of the pace of new innovation and its results. Anyone who utilizes the web will no doubt concur that promoting is a standout amongst the most irritating things about the web, and they’re deteriorating, they’re getting progressively intrusive, and we are somewhat the motivation behind why, since we’ve prepared ourselves to overlook certain regions of a website page, and created advertisement blockers, sponsors have been compelled to raise.

One clarification is that innovation makes it with the goal that the general population whose enduring we revel in are simply far off individuals on a screen. Going back when we was talking about the medium message the technology that they were using was really controlling his mind and that goes right with the society today with phones taking over the world mainly with teens at a young age. The screens that was infront of him was talking over his everyday life so that was basically controlling his body on how he functions. The computers that were controlling him were very high definition so anything that he wanted to do it was controlled by a tv screen. He had a lot of freedom with anything that he wanted to do it was just very unforunate that he had to go through a screen. I really dont think he was having alot of fun doing things that where moniterd by a computer screen. The world is cool, and the manner in which it’s exhibited is brilliant I don’t have the foggiest idea about that the financial plan for these scenes is high, however they are outwardly consistent. The scene, carefully, doesn’t tell us that that is a choice until we’re on the stage. It makes the gut-punch all the more regrettable, yet it additionally settles on her choice progressively conceivable, since she appears as sucker punched as we seem to be. Bing conveys rages to camera two times every week, lives in relative delicacy and never again needs to ride a bicycle. As glad endings go, it’s entirely terrifying. A general public in which fit individuals ride on stationary bikes to gain cash, while overweight individuals must be their janitors.

The idea of industrialism, focussing on excitement specifically is absolutely the objective of the scenes primary message, however the message additionally more generally addresses the world’s fixation on purchasing items to approve their reality through parody. Another key image featured inside Fifteen Million Merits is the media contained inside it, especially the stimulation appears and the notices. This media is portrayed as profoundly obtrusive and offensive, unreasonably noisy and bland for us as watchers, however is acknowledged by the characters totally. The ads demonstrated are not even remotely unpretentious, however rather are required review, stopping and discharging a sharp tone whenever turned away from. While these focuses likewise carry with them an issue of whether the scene is authoritative for being a piece of a business system and creation or counter domineering for communicating sees against these very frameworks. In any case, it communicates these perspectives in all respects effectively through layered and ground-breaking imagery, thus can be thought of as being fruitful in this objective. To completely comprehend the closure we should initially comprehend what reality inside the “”jail”” genuinely spoke to. It’s very clear that superficially, the “”jail”” is simply a veneer of a to some degree idealistic culture. In any case, as I would like to think, their existence is only our very own impression reality, in the advanced world. We are exposed to a similar schedule each day, completing similar errands so as to bring home the bacon and viably give society the “”control”” to work.

This is the place Bing and the glass shard become possibly the most important factor. Toward the end, we see Bing with the shard which to then he puts in an uncommon box. Bing has dealt with this reality and has totally ignored breaking out of this reality. The glass shard spoke to seek after society. It spoke to a recovery for another reality, one in which we aren’t exposed to the standard. In any case, this expectation was lost when Bing fixed it in the case. The endings of this show dependably is by all accounts a prosecution of society everywhere, instead of their fundamental character. The message behind this one is that false reverence can be anyplace. On the off chance that the framework is sufficiently expansive, if the general population give not exactly a sufficient poop to transform it, even resistance towards it very well may be bundled and sold. A ton of our displeasure at the world originates from what we need yet we feel we’re being denied, and once we’re never again denied those things that outrage never again feels advocated. It ends up decorative, similar to a glass shard in a velvet box. Nonetheless, the scene features things which uncover that the material-based life does not satisfy the greater part of the natives. While some figure out how to settle and get tied up with the framework, others become crap down and live mechanically. A couple of take the risk to change their confidence with just methods accessible. Individuals who put in additional work and live economically get an opportunity to introduce themselves.”

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Analysis of 15 Million Merits. (2021, May 24). Retrieved from