‘Death to 2020’: Netflix’s new mockumentary revisits the ‘nonsense and chaos’ of a truly unforgettable year
“We hope to give people a sort of cathartic exorcism of the year that was 2020,” the film’s producer said
During the days that fall between Christmas and New Year’s, media sites are typically replete with stories that rehash and review the highs and lows of the concluding year, and this year Netflix is no exception.
On Dec. 27, the streaming site launched its own version of a 2020 retrospective from the makers of the Emmy-winning “Black Mirror” anthology series.
“Death to 2020” is a 70-minute mockumentary special that mixes real-life footage with commentary from fictional talking heads to recount some of 2020’s most memorable moments.
“We hope to give people a sort of cathartic exorcism of the year that was 2020, to look back and recognize the nonsense and chaos and horribleness of it all, but hopefully be able to slightly laugh,” Annabel Jones, one of the film’s producers, told The Hollywood Reporter. “People definitely need a relief.”
From Australia’s wildfires in January to the seemingly endless presidential election in November, viewers can watch the year replayed with the help of some familiar faces.
The film boasts a star-studded cast, including Hugh Grant, Samuel L. Jackson, Lisa Kudrow, Leslie Jones, Kumail Nanjiani and others playing familiar documentary archetypes like reporters, scientists, historians and politicians. Laurence Fishburne narrates the feature.
Over a 10-day shoot that took place at the end of November, the actors each filmed their scenes in one day under strict pandemic protocols in either Los Angeles or London. Al Campbell directed the U.K. scenes while Alice Mathais directed the cast in the U.S.; producers Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones oversaw both sets remotely via Zoom.
“I don’t know that a special like this would have been commissioned if it wasn’t for the pandemic,” Brooker told The Hollywood Reproter. “The whole format is slightly tweaking the nose of high-end Netflix documentaries, so it sort of made sense to be doing the show in this form and also on Netflix.”
“Death to 2020” is rated TV-MA for language and smoking. The film currently ranks sixth on Netflix’s top 10.