‘Bo Burnham: Inside’ Review & Summary: Inside a Constrained and Utterly Creative Mind

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In a still from Netflix's 'Bo Burnham: Inside'

Bo Burnham: Inside is a 2021 American comedy special directed, wrote, filmed, edited, and starred by Bo Burnham. The entire special was filmed during the COVID 19 pandemic in Bo Burnham’s home.

Bo Burnham: Inside Plot

Bo Burnham: Inside has no sequential plot per say, the special is filled with musical performances and many bits where Bo expresses his feelings and tries to give his perspective on the circumstances that he is in.

Bo Burnham: Inside Cast

Bo Burnham: Inside Review

Bo Burnham: Inside is the new special by Bo Burnham after his hiatus of 5 years. During the hiatus he wrote and directed the highly acclaimed movie ‘Eight Grade’ and starred in Academy award nominated film ‘Promising young woman’.

 Inside is directed, written, edited, shot and composed by Bo Burnham also starring himself. Making a special without an audience and a stage is not conventional and might be rattling but it’s a blessing in disguise as it gave Bo the creative freedom and elevated the other aspects such as cinematography and musical renditions. Inside is a one-man impressive feature which feels like a work of a whole team.

Bo Burnham’s specials ‘What’ and ‘Make Happy’ are not traditional comedy specials and ‘Inside’ is no different. Inside is more of a musical special with comedic bits than a comedy special. Bo Burnham has always had his way with songs that he composes for his special but Inside had more of the tragic tone to it which is reflected in the music. The humour in the suffering and distress is what makes Inside so impactful. It is a satirical comment on the pretentiousness of the world, the feeling of abandonment and the most important of it all – consequences of the internet culture.

Bo goes straight into the hard-hitting stuff from the very start, not giving any time for the observer to settle in and the whole special has such reality check moments, dropping just one after another. He sings that he is healing the world with comedy implying he is a privileged white guy who can save the world and that’s the irony in the reality.

‘Bo Burnham: Inside’ : Coming a Full Circle with Socko

Bo Burnham expresses his views on the flamboyant and overambitious mindset of the people with a sarcastic approach. He brings out a sock puppet named Socko making the ambience comfortable and homely, putting the thought of fun and joy in the mind of the viewers but thats far from what he conveys bringing the viewer back to the reality of the cruelty that this world embodies.

Towards the end of the song, Socko challenges Bo hinting that he is delusional towards the truth, leading to Socko being threatened and eventually thrown back to its place like just like common individuals who are not heard. In his other bit, his resemblance to a brand consultant talking about the awareness that the brands need to have just for their profits is uncanny.

In a still from Netflix's 'Bo Burnham: Inside'

‘Bo Burnham: Inside’ : All Eyes on Me

Bo, in the events leading up to the climax of his frighteningly brutal special, regards the deep desires and the basic human instincts with the song ‘All eyes on Me”. The need for validation or attention, or just the need to feel safe and away from the insecurities that are ultimately crumbling each and every one of us. The world’s ending, sea levels rising, but is it really worth it to give a shit anymore? Isn’t letting it all go, going to be a much peaceful alternative to the latter.

The song is both a cry for attention and a cry for help, an urge for humans to become self-aware and an urge to just give up. It weirdly makes you feel at ease and takes away all the burden of an imminent collapse with just a phrase, “You say the Whole world’s ending, honey it already did” Maybe he knows everyone’s going to be analytical about every word he says, maybe he will make fun of us for doing that in the future, but who gives a damn.

‘Bo Burnham: Inside’ : A Masterpiece?

Not every bit in the special lands in the way that he envisioned but every musical variation from ‘healing the world with comedy’ to ‘a white woman’s Instagram’ to ‘sexting’ to ‘problematic’ to ‘turning 30’ to ‘I feel like shit’ to ‘all of the time’ to ‘that funny feeling’ to ‘all eyes on me’ to the last song where he summarizes the special are an accomplishment in themselves, making the special an unhinged masterpiece.

Bo says that he had panic attack during his Make Happy tour which made him focus more on his mental health and just when he thought he was ready to get back on stage, pandemic changed it all and creating a special just by himself, let him get distracted from what the world is going through, he doesn’t want to end the special, he doesn’t know how to end the special, he doesn’t want to face that feeling of insatiability and desertedness all over again. Letting the creative juices flow really reveals the brilliance of Bo and the entire special is a visual spectacle.

‘Bo Burnham: Inside’ : An Elevated Sense of Creativity in Confinement

Bo is confined within the four walls of his apartment and creates a world of his own where he doesn’t want to be alone but has to be alone and the loneliness is eating him up. Towards the end Bo escapes the room just to be traumatized by the sound, the brightness and the commotion. He escapes the loneliness of his apartment but does he really escape the loneliness that is Inside him?

Bo Burnham: Inside Critical Reception

Bo Burnham: Inside has an approval rating of 100% based on 19 reviews on Rotten tomatoes. On Metacritic, it scored a 98 out of 100 based on eight critics.

The Movie Culture Synopsis

Bo Burnham: Inside is his best work to date. Writing, directing, editing, shooting and composing all by himself makes this special really impressive. There are moments in the special where I would zone out but only to wonder about the artistry of Bo. Inside is not for everyone and might not be relatable to each one of us but it still resonates to the feeling that we had in this pandemic.

Categorizing it in a specific genre would be understating all the countless things it tries and succeeds in being, throughout its 1 and a half hour run. It really is anything and everything, all of the time Bo Burnham: Inside is available to watch on Netflix.

Author

  • Ayush Jain is a Mumbai-based writer. He loves watching movies and shows and loves to talk about them. Mad max fury road is one of his favorites and that's what ignited the Cinephile in him. He might not be the best at writing but is still trying and learning.