Inside (2021) Review
DESPITE its horrendous impact on the film industry, Covid-19 has forced content creators to think out the box, with comedian and actor Bo Burnham literally thinking inside the box with his new Netflix special Inside; a one-man comedic venture that takes place over the course of a full-calendar year written, shot, starring and directed by the rising star.
Constant lockdowns during 2020 meant Burnham was confined to his small, one person apartment, inspiring the comedian to create his first stand-up special in nearly five years. But as the one-man show progresses, the lack of audience and interaction with friends and family begins to take a toll on his mental health, showing that while comedy is often the answer to tackling depression, its pleasantries sometimes just aren't enough to withstand the saddest emotions.
Although being marketed as a comedic musical, Burnham's one-man Netflix special becomes surprisingly gloomy at times, using upbeat and well-written songs such as "White Woman's Instagram" and "Welcome to the Internet" to shine a playful light on the infamous traits millennials possess. While these songs and many more are wonderful and gut-wrenching compositions, there was one song that stood out in my mind that best summed up what the point of the special was: "30".
Halfway through Inside, the camera cuts to Burnham sitting in his room at 11:58pm where he exclaims that in a few moments he will be turning 30, and in a saddening tone, that he wishes he could be with his friends and family celebrating before accepting the harsh reality caused by Covid-19 upon reaching the magic number. His stone face demeanour throughout this scene, as well as during another where he breaks down discussing his ever-growing depression, brought a harsh sense of reality upon a special littered with constant tomfoolery.
A special created entirely by one person was never going to be without flaws as while the humour is spot-on throughout majority of the runtime, certain songs and segments didn't flow well together, causing a minor pacing problem that never truly fixed itself by the end. On top of this, a lot of the film became redundant very quickly, but in all fairness, there is nothing that could have been done to fix this incredibly minimal problem as that is the entire point of Inside.
Bo Burnham's return to comedy specials may just be his best yet, exuding endless personality and honesty that anyone can relate to. The Netflix exclusive serves as a humorous time capsule that may not be the funniest piece of work compared to other stand-up specials, but Burnham's sheer charisma and creativity pushes Inside from being a forgettable one-off to a comedic achievement for an actor who will no doubt prosper following this latest masterpiece.