Many may already know the story of Kurt Donald Cobain and know a lot about him. But, Brett Morgen has gone above and beyond to deliver the most intimate experience with the musician who died in 1994. With Courtney Love suggesting the idea in 2007, Brett then spent years creating the vision of a troubled and misunderstood individual who is still seen as a vital part to the music we hear today. We get a great combination of new interviews, old video clips, unseen artwork and notes plus some beautiful animations of Kurt in his younger days from interview tapes. Kurt spent his whole life making art, and we get to see that art from his years as an infant to before he met his untimely end.
The film features interviews with many people from Kurt’s life. These interviews include his sister Kim, his Dad Don Cobain, his mum Wendy O’Conner, Courtney Love and his long-time friend Krist Novoselic. Hearing these people talk about Kurt, giving their frank and honest feelings is very enlightening. We learn a lot more about the musician during his life in the areas that may not be as well documented. Whether it’s from the fact that he smoked marijuana with a group of kids he hated, making his own music mix called ‘Montage Of Heck’ (where the name for the film comes from) and what happened throughout his final years of life including when he took 67 rohypnol’s. It is a brutally honest and frighteningly shocking look at the Nirvana frontman. We get to see videos of him in his home while under the influence of heroin and the effect it had on him.
Many highlights are shown. We get to see the rise of Nirvana, the birth of the NEVERMIND album and also his most precious creation; his daughter Frances Bean Cobain. We also get to hear demos of his songs, rare recordings and more personal audio clips which may not have ever had been heard previously. Though we also see the many struggles these highlights came with. We also begin to feel this pain that Kurt had for many years, a pain in his stomach that he used to numb down with heroin. We see what would become the MTV Unplugged performance and feel the tension to make this show become something historical, and that all important Reading Festival performance in 1992 which cemented Nirvana as a huge band and not wanting to go quietly. We are behind that camera watching Kurt Cobain as he has his life unfolded to us in 132 minutes of gripping film. The home video footage from his parents when he was a kid to when Kurt and Courtney filmed their lives is insightful and personal. They were tortured souls, Kurt did all he could to try and forget the pain.
The film will shock you, it may at times upset you and on the odd occasion you may laugh. The blend of Nirvana music is beautifully layered with performances from demos, studio tracks and covered by other acts. You can see the love that Kurt had, even if he couldn’t love himself. We learn for the first time that Kurt was not a god, a demon or anything other worldly. He was a man, the man who he had to be. He suffered from depression, he loved his family and wanted to make people happy. We may hear a lot about Kurt Cobain through his former band mates Dave Grohl and Krist, his widow Courtney and many others, but nothing prepares you to hear the words from his own mouth. This film will stick with you long after you see that screen say “One month after returning from Rome, Kurt Cobain took his own life. He was 27 years old”.
Final Rating: 10/10
Written by Jonjo Cosgrove