Bo Burnham: Inside

Bo Burnham: Inside ★★★★

Whoa... This was insanely good. So, I've never seen any of Bo's other specials, but I've seen some of his videos, I've seen Eighth Grade, and I know about his backstory. This film is the thing that really made me realize how talented this guy truly is. This introspective, comedy, documentary, musical, chamber piece is all done by himself - and contains some really clever uses of lighting / composition to make one room feel like... more. Most of the songs all sounded the exact same, but I could still appreciate his writing and presence (more than can be said about majority of other modern "comedians") - but man, the penultimate song "All Eyes on Me" is legitimately excellent. Added it straight away to The Dance of Cinema Spotify playlist. This film is a fascinating exploration of isolation, and of the aspect of "performance", both in terms of in front of an audience, and also of personal identity.

There is an air of found footage narrative to this film, more-so than one of stand up comedy. I don't watch comedy special "movies", but I have to speculate that this is probably the best ever...? At least in terms of emotional resonance and creativity... INSIDE uses the package of a social commentary piece to trojan horse an honest & unique one-man show about mental health and the universally felt loneliness / existential pain of uncertainty caused by the global pandemic. Inside felt like more of a film than Eighth Grade did. Not sure if this was Bo's main intention, but the fact that he used this past year to create something meaningful is really inspiring. As much as he makes fun of himself, and keeps the tone jumping back and forth between serious and comical, he clearly put real blood, sweat, & tears into this. "All Eyes on Me" is the perfect summation of this balance of levity and genuine passion. This film is a great reminder that in spite of our egos, and pressures from exterior sources, it's okay to take your art seriously, and use it as an outlet. I think Bo made this more for himself than for us. Film as catharsis is one of the most powerful forces that exists.