Updated: Feb 5
Bo Burnham’s, Inside, is a new Netflix special that focuses on a man surviving through the pandemic with only himself and the instruments that surround him. It’s not a comedy special and therefore shouldn’t be treated as one, even if it comes from a comedian. The special is more of a feeling, it’s dark but that’s life, it shows that it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows and that’s what I think Bo Burnham does best.
There are a total of 21 songs and each one is perfect. Each song takes on a different genre, a different vibe, it reflects the trends through the pandemic as well as the things and feelings we might do and experience. In some ways everyone can relate to a song, and it’s special when things like that happen; especially when we’re all in the same boat. The songs are surprisingly very catchy even if they’re diverging into crazy ramblings of a cornered man.
Inside is different from the majority of Burnham’s work, simply because everything is handled by him. The editing, lighting, directing, writing; it’s all Bo, and it shows. The lighting is amazing, criminally so, it really sells the feeling that you’re in a different space when in reality it’s one man and a small house. It benefits and emphasises points of songs, for example, Welcome to the internet uses a spiral pattern for a bulk of its runtime, yet towards the end it changes with the tone of the song. It shifts to a more galactic space, and when that tone is over it shifts right back to a chaotic spiral.
The camera placements and cinematography as a whole are spectacular and definitely give me some student film vibes. During the song, White Women’s Instagram, the amount of backgrounds Bo nails is mind-blowing, he somehow captured exactly what you see on Instagram while also maintaining an artsy look to the special. I personally love the jump cuts between shots and segments as it shows it’s chaotic and more human compared to the pristine edits of a normal media production. The rough cuts are what makes the special feel...special, it is so overtly human, and you feel it through its presentation.
Inside covers events of 2020 as a documentary, they shed light on movements like Black Lives Matter and how huge corporations involved themselves with ‘being on the right side’. Yes, it’s a political statement but it’s also so much more than that. It delves deep into the struggles of living alone at a time when all you want to do is see your friends and family, songs like Facetiming With My Mom shows the commitment to keeping in touch, but also the feelings of frustration when it doesn’t go how you pictured it. Stuck In A Room, Turning 30, Sexting, and Feel Like Shit all highlight points in everyone's lockdown experiences and I think that’s what makes the special so compelling to watch.
Bo Burnham’s, Inside, points fun at trends and lifestyles that erupted during the pandemic. It dips its toes into things like streaming, social media, video games, politics, TikTok trends, the works. There’s something almost sad about watching a grown man slowly lose his sanity over accomplishing a promise of providing entertainment, when no one else can watch it.
Inside is currently streaming on Netflix as of May 30th.
Inside gets 5 stars from me.