Friday, May 8, 2015

Sadie's Review of "Montage of Heck" the Kurt Cobain Documentary

Last Sunday HBO released the long awaited Brett Morgen documentary Montage of Heck. This particular documentary was the first one to have the support of Kurt's family, including Courtney and Frances Bean Cobain, who was one of the executive producers of the film. I knew that this documentary was going to be different from others, but I didn't know how different it would truly be.

This documentary paints a new picture of Kurt that we have never seen before. He was not, according to the film a man who was just playing music and accidentally became successful one day. He was a man who was determined to become successful. In fact, we learn that he laid out detailed plans about how he would get his name and his music out there that included sending out demo tapes and playing more shows. Kurt wanted to be a writer, a musician, and he wanted to be famous.

We also saw a lot of behind the scenes footage, including shots of the infamous unplugged sessions, scrambled old videos from some of the band's first shows, and interviews and home movies of Courtney and Kurt. The weirdest thing about the home movies is that they were filmed by a third party, who I later realized was Eric Erlandson from Hole. During these movies we see a man who doesn't shy away from the spotlight or the camera, he runs to it and revels in it. We learn more about his childhood then ever before. We hear the reasons why he took 6 months off from touring right after the rise of Nevermind and Courtney gives us some insight into his infamous overdose in Rome.

The documentary is worth watching just for these things alone, but this depiction does something that no other film about Kurt has done before. It doesn't make him out to be some kind of iconic hero. Instead, it gives us a look inside one of the most creative and talented minds of his generation without idolizing him. It shows Kurt being an asshole at times, it shows him being a person. It shows a side of Kurt that we haven’t seen in any other clips. Yes he was talented, but he was also a person, not the icon we have created over the last 20 years since his death.

I loved the documentary and highly suggest watching it if you have access to an HBO Go! account. It is a new spin on an old story. I think it was incredibly brave of Frances to depict her dad as he was and not how you would want him to be. I'm sure it was really hard to watch some of this stuff. I loved all of the art, loved the drawings and words from his diaries that came to life, but was less than happy with the parts of the film where they recreated events by using lifelike cartoons of Kurt. That part confused me, I felt it was weird and unnecessary. I also loved all of the B-Side songs that they included in the film. I would have loved to see more interviews, including the thoughts of Dave Grohl but Krist Novasalic had a lot to say during the film. I didn't realize how long Kurt and Krist were friends, you can tell that he still misses him everyday. I also hated the name of the film and still don't get it, I thought the name could have been so much cooler.

In the end I realized that no documentary on Kurt will ever make me truly happy because at the end, no matter what, he dies and he is gone and the story ends. I feel the same way when I watch films about princess Diana. I hope for a different ending, which will never come.

It was fun to see a new side of the story and a new side of Kurt. I long for the days when music meant as much as it did in the 90s.


1 comment:

  1. Montage of Heck was the name of the mix-tapes/recordings Kurt used to make. Jeeeeeezzzzzz