- I’ve watched Bo Burnham’s “Inside” special on Netflix at least seven times.
- But seeing it on a big screen at a movie theater made me catch some details I had missed before.
- For example, Burnham doesn’t blink a single time while singing the panic-attack song “All Time Low.”
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The consultant character makes the gesture right as he is saying he asks brands the same question: “Are you gonna be on the right side of history?”
You can’t see his whole hand in the shot, but it looks unmistakably like the “OK” sign, a gesture punctuated by Burnham’s hard stare afterward.
This whole “brand awareness” sketch is a satire on the ways corporations will issues statements about inclusivity despite having internal company structures that reinforce systemic racism. So the idea that this brand-consultant character would subtly throw a white power symbol into his “brand awareness” commercial fits perfectly.
But in the theater, the whiteboard to the left of Burnham was lit up much more visibly, and I noticed that song titles from the special were written on it.
You can see the titles for “Comedy,” and “FaceTime With My Mom,” and then an arrow pointing from that song to “How the World Works.” Those are the exact order the songs appear in the special, so this whiteboard seems to be part of Burnham’s working notes for his special.
By holding a knife as he smiles, the whole video gives you the impression that this content creator is either going to hurt himself or you (his viewer) if you don’t continue watching every video he works so hard to create.
Sitting in the movie theater, I found myself wanting to avoid his direct, prolonged eye contact. That was when I noticed the reddish splotch on the knife’s blade. It looks almost like dried blood, which just increased the already unsettling vibes of this entire sketch.
The song lasts for just about 15 seconds, and Burnham’s eyes stay wide open that entire time.
I thought it was maybe a bear costume or just the most random jacket he had been able to find online. The chaos of him singing “Bezos II” with a laser show in the background really swallowed up any specific concerns I had about his outfit.
But it’s actually a specific type of camouflage outfit, designed to help an armed sniper blend into natural elements like foliage and tree bark.
Both of the “Bezos” songs are hinting at both the billionaire-fanboy subculture that exists online, as well as the frustration many feel while parsing the morality of billionaire business owners like Jeff Bezos.
So, of course, it turns out that Burnham is wearing a sniper suit as he sarcastically sings “congratulations!” to the richest man in the world.
The song steadily grows more intimate and melancholic (“20,000 years of this, seven more to go”) with its second and third verses, and the viewer is brought closer and closer to Burnham.
Then the camera goes still once again, holding in the close-up as Burnham sings the lines about “total disassociation” and “derealization.”
It’s only after the end of this section — when he sings about “the quiet comprehending of the ending of it all” — that the camera begins pulling back again. It’s a subtle way that Burnham’s directing style brings the audience closer into his space, and his headspace, before trying to establish distance again.
“Inside” is playing in select US theaters for this weekend only (July 22-25).
For the rest of the details you might have missed in “Inside,” read our full breakdown of the special here.