Brett Morgen has created a personal and immersive film on one of the most iconic rock stars of modern times in Cobain: Montage of Heck.
The film, named after a mix tape found in Cobain’s personal effects, utilises his journals and recordings to create a unique and truly emotive rockumentay cinematic experience that will leave any Nirvana fan partly euphoric, and partly saddened, by this genius and his early departure from our Earth.
Including interviews from only a few key people; parents, siblings, ex-girlfriend, Krist Novoselic of Nirvana and wife Courtney Love, results in a clearer picture of Cobain than we’ve ever seen in film before. No cliche talking heads here, but candid and sad recounts of a troubled youngster who found his solace in music and art.
Animations are woven within the film. The earlier parts show some beautifully animated segments by Dutch filmmaker Hisko Hulsing depicting Kurts teenage years, and Kurt’s own work is dramatically animated by Stefan Nadelman.
For fans of his music, you’ll get an insight into the man behind the lyrics; his sensitivities, insecurities and paranoia. You’ll reminisce and relive the rebellious and freeing sound that Nirvana delivered to a youth in need of a leader.
It’s a sad tale of a talented genius who was plagued by an unsatisfied youth that only he can really tell. Made even more sad by they the posthumous worship we feel for his music and talent today.
Personal footage of Cobain and Love together show a chaotic intense love and doesn’t shy away in the wake of the vanity of fame.
The interviews with Courtney Love are only at times uncomfortable, but she seems candid in her telling of her time with the father of her child and love of her life. The film feels deliberately removed from asking the sensationalist questions that were sprayed across the tabloids, and left instead for us the viewer to evaluate through headlines and news footage. Do we even care anymore?
I think this film opens up the discussion around our avoidance of mental health and addiction and gives but a snippet of what you get when holding up the mirror to what Kurt Cobain represented to a generation. Authorized, and executive produced, by Frances Bean Cobain this is an open and personal legacy.
Cobain: Montage of Heck is a must see for all Nirvana fans and those intrigued by the short-lived musical genius that defined a generation.
Coming to cinemas for a limited release on 7 May.
Reviewed by Ingrid Grenar