6 details in Bo Burnham's 'Inside' I only noticed while watching it in a movie theater

·5 min read
A man (Bo Burnham) sitting down and staring into the camera while smiling and holding a knife.
Bo Burnham during a sketch for Netflix's "Inside." Netflix

While embodying a "social brand consultant" character, Burnham appears to flash a white power symbol.

A black and white image of a man (Bo Burnham) holding up the "OK" sign with one hand.
Bo Burnham during the "brand awareness" sketch. Netflix

If you've been tapped into the online conversations around racist dog whistles, 4chan, and how the "OK" hand gesture has been co-opted into a symbol of hate, then you'll probably recognize what I saw in this scene.

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.

After the "White Woman's Instagram" song, you can see a whiteboard that seems to have a working outline of the whole "Inside" special on it.

A red arrow points to the whiteboard next to Bo Burnham.
Bo Burnham after the "White Woman's Instagram" song. Netflix

Upon my initial viewings of this scene, I was focused on the way Burnham is sitting and watching the "White Woman's Instagram" video on playback in the same way people often go back and watch their own Instagram stories so they can see how it looks from an outside view.

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.

There's a speck of something on the knife Burnham is holding in this shot. It almost looks like blood - adding to the ominous feeling in the sketch.

A man (Bo Burnham) wearing a white t-shirt and holding a knife as he smiles into the camera.
Bo Burnham holding a knife in "Inside." Netflix

In this sketch, Burnham adopts the persona of a YouTuber thanking his subscribers for supporting his "content."

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.

Burnham doesn't blink a single time during the whole "All Time Low" song.

A close up of a man (Bo Burnham) singing into a microphone with dotted lights behind him.
Bo Burnham singing "All Time Low." Netflix

As I explained in my ranking of all the songs from "Inside," Burnham uses the song "All Time Low" to encapsulate pretty much exactly what having a panic attack feels like.

The song lasts for just about 15 seconds, and Burnham's eyes stay wide open that entire time.

A friend in the theater with me pointed out that Burnham is wearing something called a "ghillie suit" during the second "Bezos" song - aka a sniper suit.

A man (Bo Burnham) wearing a textured bodysuit and singing into a microphone as a green light shines on him.
Bo Burnham during a sketch for Netflix's "Inside." Netflix

I'm gonna level with you — prior to this theater experience, I had never given much thought to exactly what Burnham is dressed up in during this song.

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 camera pushes in closer to Burnham during a key part of "That Funny Feeling" before pulling away again.

A man (Bo Burnham) playing an acoustic guitar while sitting in front of a projection of a forest background.
Bo Burnham during a sketch for Netflix's "Inside." Netflix

When Burnham begins singing, the camera stays in a static wide shot for the entire first verse. But as soon as he starts in on the chorus ("There it is again, that funny feeling") the camera starts slowly zooming in on Burnham.

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.

Read the original article on Insider