This is by far my favourite film of the year! Ok, ok, I know it’s only the 8th of January, 2021, but it is the film that we’ve all needed, especially after the siege on Capitol Hill earlier this week.
Charlie Brooker presents complicated technology and malicious human desires in his series “Black Mirror”. “Death to 2020” has those same themes, but it is slightly more terrifying because real events are being described by people with varying views. These views that offer a glimpse into the lack of knowledge, or rather ignorance, some of the speakers have are large contributors to the humour of the special. There are many different characters from both liberal and conservative parties, but also from around the world.
Samuel L. Jackson headlines the main cast as Dash Bracket, a no-nonsense reporter for “The New Yorkerly News” with a knack for cultural metaphors. He essentially plays a version of Jackson himself, dropping in perfectly measured curses and a faintly bewildered amusement. Hugh Grant portrays Tennyson Foss, a historian who looks and talks like a seasoned professional but often cites information from fictional TV shows as historic facts. He’s clearly based on veteran British TV historian David Starkey with a side of Simon Scharmer. Lisa Kudrow appears as Jeanetta Grace Susan, a conservative woman who is symbolic of politicians that deny factual information and who is billed as an unofficial White House spokesperson. She continually challenges the truth, including when shown footage of her literally just saying the things she’s challenging. Leslie Jones portrays Dr. Maggie Gravel, a behavioral therapist who curses on camera and ironically hates all humans. She is one of the feature’s most relatable voices of reason. Joe Keery appears as Duke Goolies, an opportunistic “gig economy millennial” who capitalizes upon cultural trends for self-serving reasons, gaining a huge YouTube following for obvious and boring reaction videos. Kumail Nanjiani portrays Bark Multiverse, the CEO of a tech company who selfishly builds his own survival bunker after being moved by Greta Thunberg’s climate change speech at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit. He’s Death to 2020’s answer to Elon Musk. British comic actor Samson Kayo portrays Pyrex Flask, a scientist who seems to know more about pop culture trends than his profession, including how to floss. He explains how the coronavirus spread. Cristin Milioti appears as Kathy Flowers, a self-described “regular soccer mom” who reveals herself to be a white supremacist who was unwittingly radicalized by social media. Veteran Brooker collaborator Diane Morgan portrays Gemma Nerrick, an “average citizen” whose commentaries reveal that she lost touch with reality in 2020. Tracey Ullman appears as a fictionalized version of Queen Elizabeth II who makes self-serving cultural commentaries on things such as the Netflix original The Crown. Laurence Fishburne rounds out the celebrity cast as the narrator who offers a comedic spin on the events of 2020; including my favourite line Favourite line. “A surprise Covid victim (following Trump’s positive Covid Test) was Melania Trump, who we believe has been socially distancing from her husband for at least 4 years!”
The jokes that related to climate change, Brexit, America, Silicon Valley, Trump and more were so reflective of this year. I had forgotten the Australian fires that happened very early in 2020 with everything else that happened after over the course of this year. What I appreciated about Death to 2020 is that it educates and has brilliant segues.
There is a bias against conservatives throughout the entire special. However, there were jokes regarding Biden that I found to be very humorous. Whoever came up with the remarks about his age is a complete genius. Of course, Hunter Biden and his inappropriate touching came up frequently and I found their quips caused me to cry as I was laughing so hard.
The most glaring topics discussed were the George Floyd murder and COVID-19. Brooker somehow found humour in those two depressing topics. That’s why he is so successful not just with this special, but his career: he is able to find humour from the most depraved subjects. The big revelation: it’s hilariously true. It goes after both sides of the political spectrum. And though it is mainly about US, and a bit about UK, one can easily draw parallels with any place in the world. If US politics doesn’t interest you, you should still watch Death To 2020 because this is not the point of the film. This is however, by far one of the best explanations of why and how certain things happened the way they did in 2020. In particular, it helped me understand why over 70 million Americans voted for an orange Man-baby, and reacted to Covid the way they did.
Make sure you watch the end credits!
Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!
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