Title – Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015)
Director – Brett Morgen (Chicago 10)
Cast – Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic
Plot – An intimate look at the life and times of Nirvana front man and grunge rock music legend Kurt Cobain told via archival footage, talking heads, animation and Kurt’s own diary entries.
“I wanted to be a vandal and hold everyone hostage”
Review by Eddie on 28/09/2015
As polarizing and up and down as it’s subject, Brett Morgen’s unique and labour intensive documentary about Nirvana front-man Kurt Cobain is an experience that will offer highs and lows but is nonetheless a must watch for any long term fan of the musician as documentaries don’t get much more intimate than this.
Not professing to know much if anything about the life and times of Cobain and his incredible rise to fame, riches and eventual demise, Montage of Heck will not exactly allow the uninitiated to get an exact feel for what drove Cobain and made him tick but it gives us a look into his life like never before with Morgen’s access to home video footage, diary entries and archival footage, allowing an impressively vast array of elements that combine together to try and pinpoint Cobain’s thoughts and mental processes.
Taking inspiration from the man himself, Morgen infuses his HBO backed documentary with an at times off putting erratic nature, the film flirting between visually strong animation, nightmare like diary writings and drawings flashing and coming to life in a psychedelic manner or intimate and previously private home video recordings and photos that offer the film’s most telling insights into who exactly Cobain was and what he was like at his most uninhabited, which is nice as Cobain’s notoriously cold and uninterested persona in the public makes it very easy for one to not feel care towards a man that seemed intent on walking a path of self-destruction.
Cobain’s unhelpful habits and characteristics are what holds Montage of Heck back (and a lack of affiliation of how Nirvana came together) and while we can all feel for someone suffering from inward personal issues, nothing is ever made overly apparent as to why Cobain set about a life that could only but lead to a lonely end, even after becoming a father and vowing to walk the line of sobriety and be the parent he so longed for when he was growing up. A tormented and deep thinking soul no doubt, but if there was ever a portrayal that showed Cobain up as not an overly affable human being, it’s Montage of Heck.
Cobain and Nirvana’s influence on pop-culture and music still lives large today and for die hard long term fans and those with keen interest in the life and times of musical superstars, Montage of Heck will be a must watch. For the rest of us more casual music listeners and movie fans however, Morgen’s effort is more a curiosity than and out and out must see due to its uneasy tone and tricky central figure.
3 uninterested interviews out of 5