Bo Burnham: Inside, A Review (15+)
Updated: Dec 13, 2021
By Bella 10W & Annie 9J
If you are not already feeling claustrophobic enough, the 1 hour and 30 minutes music, comedy, standup cinema, "Inside" by Bo Burnham will sure induce those fears of confinement even more. You may have heard of Bo Burnham from his standup comedy pre-pandemic, YouTube, Vine, TikTok, or any social media platform. Regardless, how you discovered Bo, He's been infamous for leaving the audience addicted to his songs with catchy beats, humming to the memorable tunes, and "Inside" was no exception.
Directed, written, edited, and even filmed by himself alone. The special follows Bo, as he is trapped inside his Los Angeles home during the Covid-19 Pandemic, with nothing but his deteriorating mental health and thoughts. It follows many captivating themes such as mental health, isolation, childhood, race, capitalism, self-awareness, the internet, and so much more, but for the sake of not getting too philosophical, we will keep it simple with some quick summary, and only touching on necessary parts. Bo has already directed other shows before, but "Inside" had a darker tone than other specials or concerts he has made, it was also more personal to him, touching on topics like self-reflection, personal mental illnesses, personal perspective, by expressing and coping through his songs and jokes.
The special does not really have a chronological order between the beginning and the end, it is filled with musical performances with occasional segments of Bo communicating his feelings towards the world. The movie kicked off with a song called "Content", about how Bo was sorry for being on a hiatus but came back with some content about drawing comparisons to the audience on how a father gives his child their favorite food, each section starts and ends abruptly, with no coherence, as he indicated at the start of the show. He performs a song called "FaceTime with My Mom (Tonight)" about Face Timing his mother's concerns. He then sings "How the World Works" to instruct children about nature, but the sock puppet he introduces begins singing about a variety of controversial topics, including historical atrocities and labor exploitation, before chastising Burnham for expressing his viewpoint. We could also see Bo Burnham editing his films, commenting on his own videos, cracking jokes, and even celebrating his 30th birthday inside during those scenes. Things grow more twisted as we move closer to the finale, as Bo personifies himself as the internet, He examines the origins and evolving nature of the internet in "Welcome to the Internet," inviting viewers to connect with a diverse amount of information, some cheery and others tragic. The film concludes with Bo Burnham coming outdoors after being stuck inside, with audio of the crowd cheering and laughing as he desperately attempts but is unable to return inside.
Generally speaking, there is a lot to uncover in this special, some would call it a "chaotic masterpiece," while others disagree; some approach the special philosophically, while others watch it for enjoyment. The audience could not help but be awestruck throughout the special as they listened to such well-written music and marveled at how well-thought-out the special is. The lighting and camera work are astonishing and the fact that Bo Burnham did it all by himself stunned everyone. Regardless of how you see it, it is one of those special that is different for everyone, depending on who is watching it. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the special has a 93 percent approval rating based on 45 reviews with an average rating of 9.2/10. “A claustrophobic masterclass in comedy and introspection, Inside is a beautifully bleak and hilariously hopeful special from Bo Burnham” says the website’s critical critique. So, seeing and criticizing the special yourself is the best method to determine if you find it relatable or not; it is entirely up to you whether you want to watch this contemporary style of humor however if you appreciate dark comedy, claustrophobic effects and well-written music, you will certainly enjoy Bo Burham’s ‘Inside.’