“Death to 2020” is a mockumentary styled recap of the train wreck that was 2020. Made by the creators of the widely successful “Black Mirror,” the movie was equipped with a star-studded cast. With actors such as Samuel L. Jackson, Hugh Grant, Joe Keery, Kumaii Nanjiani, and narrated by Laurence Fishburne, the movie was highly anticipated by many Netflix watchers. After being released December 27th, 2020 onto Netflix, it had already risen to the top of the trending on Netflix’s Top 10 movies of that week. However, it has since fallen far down. With a 37% Rotten Tomatoes rating, the movie has been bashed by critics and audiences alike. Is this simply due to bad writing, or is it something deeper? Could the movie have succeeded if it was released later, or have people truly had enough with “dark” comedy?
The movie is organized as a re-telling of the “story” of 2020. The movie immediately starts with probably the most recognizable face in Hollywood, Samuel L. Jackson. He plays the role of Dash Bracket, a vulgar press journalist. Despite Jackson being a highly talented actor, the film truly just has him there to swear every other minute about something bad. As the film continues, they make it to the discussion of the 2020 presidential election. I do applaud the writer for making the movie very unbiased, and the amazing irony of Lisa Kudrow’s character, Jeanetta Grace Susan, a parody of stingy politicians who constantly go back and forth on their opinions. After this part was when I became worrisome. How did they plan to approach the events of the summer? They cannot ignore the Black Lives Matter movement, but making jokes about the unarmed killings of many African-American citizens is just insensitive at this point. However, the movie stopped dead in its tracks to make a sensible, meaningful conversation about the importance of the movement. Even going as far as to shine light on the so-called “Karen Epidemic” with a character named Kathy, the most basic, suburban mom trope you’ll ever lay your eyes on. The movie carries through some of the biggest parts of 2020, and it does it effectively.
I will not deny that the movie was good, however, on re-watch you get to see the actual trouble with the mockumentary style it chose to convey. Most of the jokes were well landing, but that is only due to the impeccable timing of the actors. I can bet that if you were to type most of the jokes into Google, you’d find at least 70% written by Twitter users over the year. That’s the main problem with the film. It attempts to be a dark comedy reflecting the trash fire of 2020, but instead it becomes a Gen Z’s Twitter account. So whilst it does do an effective job at recounting the events, the writing makes it go from comedic, to tragic, then back to comedic. The tone is so skewed it was difficult to keep up. I recommend this movie to anyone with a clear mind. If you are anyone with strong political views, I would recommend watching… literally anything else.