In this visual essay style documentary, intimate audio of journalist Michael Azerrad's interviews with Kurt Cobain is played over more recently photographed footage of Cobain's Washington state homes and haunts.
"Nirvana headlining at Reading in 1992 was something you had to see, and if you didn't see it then it was something you pretended you saw." --Kerrang (October 2003) "The staggering energy ... See full summary »
I was hoping for this film to be great. As a Nirvana fan (most people who claim to like Nirvana have no idea what 'Incesticide' or even 'Bleach' is), I was looking forward to a thorough insight into this beloved figure who is still shrouded in a fog of misrepresentation and false hero worship. Unfortunately the film did not live up to expectations as it seemed the Director, "Brett Morgan" was more concerned in making the film aesthetically pleasing than emotionally interesting.
First off, a few positives about the film. 1. The way it portrays Courtney Love: She is despised by most music fans who believe she ruined Nirvana, but it's pretty clear that Kurt's self destruction was mostly his doing and his natural tendencies which add an appropriate sense of melancholy to the movie. 2. Some of the montages were nice when not excruciatingly overdone. 3. The music of course was good, it had a wide range from their b-sides (Dive), their first album (Mr. Moustache) and their popular stuff (Territorial Pissings) Including some fascinating covers of the Velvet Underground and the Beatles. 4. The story about Kurt and the "Retarded Girl" was absolutely fascinating.
However, the pacing of the film is truly awful. The first hour trudges along after a promising start and becomes bogged down in the Director's own agenda to show off his style. By far the best scenes in the film is just raw footage of Kurt and Courtney living alone in their dingy apartments and hotel rooms.
The film is appropriately titled, as the film is almost solely montages that don't progress the story and just serve again to stroke the Director's ego. Another example is the overuse of EXTREMELY LOUD to absolute silence.
Also, the ending of the film is not only unsatisfying, but extremely clichéd. There are countless films that have the same end title card and it felt awfully lazy. This is also disappointing because we experience none of the emotional damage that Cobains death has, which would have been far more interesting than 5 minutes of repetitive montages.
What's sad is that this film claimed to be the definitive Cobain Doco, but it's so obvious that there is plenty more interesting video and audio recordings made by Cobain HIMSELF that were left out in order to make way for dead end animation montages and hyper editing. The film could have been just as emotionally effective with 20 minutes cut from it.
However, I am still at least glad I saw the film, all the less wanky stuff was honestly well directed and Cobain's home video footage is nothing short of riveting and sometimes becomes really funny and beautiful.
So I give this film a 6. At the end of the day, I feel it would have been far more interesting just to sort through 3 hours of Cobain's home recordings than to watch a Director trying to steal the limelight from his charismatic subjects.
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