Introspective artist Blake is buckling under the weight of fame, professional obligations and a mounting feeling of isolation. Dwarfed by towering trees, Blake slowly makes his way through dense woods. He scrambles down an embankment to a fresh spring and undresses for a short swim. The next morning he returns to his house, an elegant, if neglected, stone mansion. Many people are looking for Blake--his friends, his managers and record label, even a private detective--but he does not want to be found. In the haze of his final hours, Blake will spend most his time by himself. He avoids the people who are living in his house, who approach him only when they want something, be it money or help with a song. He hides from one concerned friend and turns away another. He visits politely with a stranger from the Yellow Pages sales department, and he ducks into an underground rock club. He wanders through the woods and he plays a new song, one last rock and roll blowout. Finally, alone in the ...Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Gus Van Sant had originally intended to make a direct biopic of Kurt Cobain in the mid-1990's but ran into legal obstruction from Cobain's widow, Courtney Love. Undeterred, Van Sant met with Love to discuss some ideas for the film, as well as her possible involvement. Though the two actually became friends and discussed the film for years, Van Sant eventually realized that Love was too devastated by Cobain's death to ever collaborate on the film or even allow a biopic to ever be made and adapted his ideas into this fictionalized story. See more »
Throughout the film Blake plays guitar both left handed and right handed. (Kurt Cobain - on whom Blake is reportedly based - played left handed.) See more »
Then one day he thought the way to make money there are a lot of people who had exotic backgrounds in vaudeville. There was a Chinese magician named Ching Ling Foo who was doing really well. So Billy Robinson sort of disappeared and he resurfaced as a Chinese magician named Chung Ling Soo. He had his hair cut off and made into a queue you know, one of those long queues at the back of his neck. And he had himself made up look like a Celestial. And he became incredibly well-known performing in ...
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Nirvana were big around about the time I was in my teens so I do have a certain amount of cultural involvement in his suicide. By this I'm not claiming anything special, just saying that it was an event I remember from the time rather than since. As such I was quite interested in seeing this film although I did think it would be detailed than it was. Instead it is literally "Blake's" last days in a remote house with a group of friends. We see him in a state of isolation, falling deeper into whatever it is that is eating at him from the inside out. Van Sant has drawn this fall out over 90 minutes where, lets be honest, not a great deal actually happens.
To some viewers this has given the film a tragic and haunting quality that has produced a lot of insight into the man Blake. I am not one of those viewers. It wasn't that I was waiting for the film to do a lot of work for me or spoon-feed me emotions, but I did need more than what was delivered and I confess that the film bored me intensely at some points. Van Sant has written these last days and based them on Kurt Cobain but I would have liked him to have imagined a bit more detail in his character and perhaps done more than delivered some stroppy teenager silently moping around the place until the inevitable happens (and even that is done in a very low key way). It is hard to fault the intimate nature of Van Sant's filming but this is very different from getting into the character and actually benefiting from this degree of perceived intimacy.
Pitt does as he is told and spends most of the film looking through his hair in a sort of creative and tragic way. Without any dialogue to speak of (sorry) this is all he can really do and I found it totally unconvincing and uninteresting which is a pretty big failing given that he is supposed to be the heart of the film and the reason we have all come along. The rest of the cast are fairly unimportant and it says a lot that the only one that held my interest was Ricky Jay but that was only because he was Ricky Jay.
Perhaps this will really touch major fans of Cobain but it did nothing for me at all. Silent and surprisingly dull, this badly needed depth and insight as well as a serious and respectful tone.
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