Friday, June 18, 2021

Inside (2021)

Streaming Services: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: Inside (2021)
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Music
Length: 87 minutes
Rating: TV-MA
Production/Distribution: Netflix
Director: Bo Burnham
Writer:  Bo Burnham
Actors: Bo Burnham
Blurb from IMDb: A new comedy special shot and performed by Bo Burnham, alone, over the course of the past year.

Selina’s Point of View:
People have been commenting on how much of a gut punch Bo Burnham’s (The Big Sick, Rough Night, Promising Young Woman) Inside is. It built up so much that I became unbearably curious.
I love comedy that comes with a message. George Carlin (Dogma, Mater’s Tall Tales, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) was insanely good at that kind of thing, and his specials are the ones I’ve always loved the most. Comedy specials that leave me thinking on deeper things are the ones I seek out. They help you swallow the truth with a spoonful of sugar.
There was a frightening amount of truth in Inside. It was extremely disturbing, incredibly relatable, triggering… and there was no real sugar to make it easier to swallow.
If someone asked me the genre of this special, I would call it an experimental stand-up comedy/horror. It’s something I’ve never seen before. It didn’t just leave me thinking, it left me sobbing – and there were times near the end that filled me with significant dread.
Nothing about this was expected. As much as I knew about the ‘gut punch’ aspect, nothing could have prepared me for what I watched. I really can’t stress that enough.
I think I’m going to be processing Inside for a very long time… but I don’t have that long to write this, so I’m going to have to work off of how I feel now. In this moment.

Bo Burnham created this special during 2020 – at the height of the pandemic. He filmed it in a room, alone, for a year. During that year he was intensely honest about his mental health. He highlighted how chaotically trapped the majority of us have been during this pandemic.
He started out by talking about systemic racism, global warming, and the uses of social and political causes to fuel capitalism. It was easy to trick myself into believing it was going to be one of his usual specials.
As the year started to pass, Inside showed how the isolation and the depression began to send him spiraling. The songs stop feeling like their goal was to make anyone smile. They begin to feel more like something he was doing to get the worst of it out. I don’t know if any of it was acted, but it feels like the whole thing was very genuine. It was a visual representation of how a lot of us have felt this past year.
Inside was brilliant… but it was not an easy watch. I will almost definitely never watch it again. I don’t think I could handle it.  
What’s worse is that the people who would benefit the most from watching something like this, never would.
All those people who didn’t take the pandemic seriously, who refused to wear a fucking mask, who played politics with peoples lives… they were responsible for dragging this whole fucking thing out longer than it ever had to be. They caused the silent casualties of COVID. The people who drowned in depression, sitting alone in their homes, trying to wait it out and do the right thing. If you’re anti-vaxxer, an anti-masker, or a science denier… the loss of those people is your fault. This could have been over in a month. Fuck you.

Cat’s Point of View:
I think everyone just about agrees on a singular fact: the last year has been rough. There’s so much division about everything else, but we can all come together over that one topic. I don’t want to digress into the divisiveness or anything else, though. That’s not the point.
In the face of all the wonky stuff in the world, I know quite a few of us have asked ourselves: Is it okay to laugh when so many are miserable? My answer is simple. Yes. It’s crucial to keep laughing and to find ways to help others find laughter. It could be the one bright spot that saves someone from the abyss of depression. You never know. It’s just good for you. It’s science!
What does that have to do with today’s review? Well, we’ve watched a comedy special – Bo Burnham’s Inside. It isn’t the first bit of comedy we’ve reviewed while the world’s been on fire, but it’s the first comedian’s solo special we’ve done in a while. 

It’s topical.
Burnham is also brilliant and this is the first comedy special he’s produced in years.
What I didn’t expect was for it to be cathartic. I related on another level to this production.

I didn’t laugh as much as I thought I would. Inside wasn’t devoid of comedic elements, but some were darker than others. Nearly everything hit on buttons pertaining to this whole pandemic quarantine crazy experience that the whole planet is gripped in.
The ultra-sensitive may not want to watch, but Burnham’s work really hasn’t ever been anything that catered to everyone. Further, anyone triggered by the discussion of suicide may want to give this special some careful consideration before watching. I don’t feel it’s a spoiler to explain that he didn’t spoof it, nor did he act like he was going to – there’s just some dark humor laced real talk about personal mental health and a window into the stir-crazy that quarantine could inspire.
Moving on!
Burnham is also quite musically gifted. One thing I always enjoy about his specials, regardless of my like or dislike of his content – the music is great and always entertaining. He has an amazing understanding of composition – which is evident in all aspects of this special.
It’s phenomenal that he also produced every last bit of this on his own at home – no crew or supporting staff at all. One element that stood out to me in this special was the lighting and how he played with it to shift perspectives and add effects.
I’d say Inside is definitely worth a watch, even though it isn’t for everyone – and certainly isn’t for young viewers. If you have Netflix, check it out.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 97%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 94%
Metascore – 98/100
Metacritic User Score – 8.4/10
IMDB Score – 8.9/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating3.5/5
Movie Trailer:

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