A considered approach
Director Brett Morgen, most noted for his critically lauded Rolling Stones’ documentary Crossfire Hurricane, now claims to bring the definitive story of Kurt Cobain to the silver screen. Though some documentary makers have already attempted to chart the turbulent life of Nirvana’s front man, access to archives containing Cobain’s journals and home videos have hitherto been withheld by the family – and for obvious reason.
Nick Broomfield’s Kurt and Courtney was, for instance, nothing if not intriguing, but its fixation with the rumour and conspiracy surrounding Cobain’s suicide meant that it fell victim to style over substance, and lapsed into sensationalism. Morgen’s production, conversely, is the first ‘fully authorised’ film about the iconic singer, and we expect it's likely to draw a crowd.
Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck
In development for over eight years, Montage of Heck draws from a plethora of materials, including over two hundred hours of unreleased music and four thousand pages of writings stretching back to Cobain’s early teenage days and through the height of his fame.
Morgen explores the sensitive teenager who refused to make friends because, as he writes in his journal, they were ‘too phoney’. We hear from exhausted parents, unable to control their hyperactive son, of early suicide attempts that would prove morbidly prescient.
The man behind the music
Although, it would seem, Nirvana very much became Cobain’s raison d’etre, an outlet for his nihilistic view of the world, Morgen is keen not to let the film become simply an aria to a great punkrock band. Instead, the film serves to explore the fascinating psyche of a man who represented an entire generation’s angst and who found the fame that came with it to be an unbearable burden.
Love: another Yoko
Courtney Love’s authorisation of the film brings a new prism through which to see Cobain’s later years. Her treatment by fans, reluctant to see their isolated loner find love, is framed as similar to Yoko Ono's. Nor did this go unnoticed by Cobain himself, whose journals reveal his despair at her vilification.
Morgen’s feature debuted at Sundance to an extremely positive reception. Conspiracy theorists might be disappointed with the film’s realistic take on the end of Cobain’s life, but anyone interested in the search for what made the mind of one of America’s most iconic figures tick, are sure to be satisfied.
Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, UK release date
The Montage of Heck documentary will be released in UK cinemas 10 April.
For those who missed it on its release, you can catch another screening of the film at the Curzon's new Summer of Sound season, celebrating the best of music on film.
|What||Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
10 Apr 15 – 30 Jun 15, 6:00 PM – 12:00 AM
|Price||£Determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here to go to the film's IMDB page.|