Cobain Montage of Heck
Director: Brett Morgan
Cobain Montage of Heck
Cobain Montage of Heck is an authorised documentary about the life of Kurt Cobain, front man of Nirvana. There have been several documentaries made about Cobain in the 21 years since his death, however this is the first official documentary made with the approval and co-operation of the family, with Cobain’s daughter Francis Bean Cobain actually working as an executive producer.
The film is comprised of interviews with friends and family as they recount their memories of Kurt throughout his whole life, accompanying these interviews is a massive amount of archived personal materials; including photos, home videos, drawings and notes from Kurt’s personal journals and audio recordings made by Kurt. These work well to give you an insight into the mind of Kurt, while this is interesting it can also feel harrowing, as you can clearly see the instability within him through these notes and images which are scrawled all over every page. Most of which feature grotesque imagery and some extremely dark thoughts, such as “I hate myself and want to die leave me alone, love Kurt”, all of which are edited in a intense manner to try to emphasize Kurt’s issues and mental instability. These sections will divide the audience as they can feel unnecessary and that they’re painting Kurt as some sort of psychopath while other may feel that it’s a decent way to covey the state of mind that Kurt was in.
The film also features some sections that have audio recordings of Kurt that have been recreated through animation, which works incredibly well. It’s a shame that there’s only a handful of these sections early on in the film, as the animation is beautiful and creates a wonderfully beautiful and sorrowful atmosphere.
One of the animated sequences that really stands out features Kurt Recounting his first suicide attempt when he was a teenager, the sequence really helps you to understand the state of mind he was in at that period of time.
As the film progresses
In the latter half of the film you see more of the life that Kurt and Courtney Love shared at home together, which shows them hauled up in a cluttered house as they were both ensnared (particularly Kurt) in the depths of heroin addiction. These scenes, at times, feel like you’re seeing too deep inside the lives of two clearly troubled individuals, that clearly needed outside help which only becomes more apparent as the film goes on.
Rolling stone called this “the most intimate rock doc ever” and that is most definitely true, but that doesn’t necessarily make this a great documentary. This is an extremely intimate look into Kurt Cobain’s personal life showing so much from the entirety of his life; if you’re really interested in seeing every little piece of personal information you will enjoy this film. However if you respect Cobain as an artist and would like to see something more focused then you’ll probably find that this documentary shows too much and at times can even feel disrespectful to Cobain.
If you’re really interested in seeing a Cobain documentary to get some insight into his life, we would recommend “Kurt Cobain About a Son”.