Kurt Cobain is a man that refuses to die.
Even when all possible back catalogues, journals and interview subjects appear to have been exhausted, another wave in the oceans of culture will land the shriveled corpse of the revered icon back on the beaches of popularity once again. “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck” is the latest biopic on the grunge godhead, released within a week of the anniversary of his death. The question on everybody’s lips, “Is there anything left to say about Kurt Cobain’s legacy?” Director Brett Morgan breathes new life into this history with a softer touch.
Initially the take on the film is refreshing. What the audience is treated to is a sensitive depiction of Kurt Cobain, made from animations with previously unheard narration from the man himself, delivering personal and harrowing tales from his past, permeated with exhaustive archive footage. The film crafts the profile of a tortured, touching childhood, enveloped in unrelenting rejection with skill and clarity.
The film goes on, touching briefly on Nirvanas genesis and on their unwanted stardom, then careers off, as if intoxicated by its plethora of archive footage. It becomes inundated with the rehash of iconic congenial performances but with just mere minutes of new footage. Then through the slurry of visual trinkets it gathers momentum and picks up motive again, arriving at a portrait of Cobain the father, with it’s sentimental outpouring and romantic assessment of his mental stature.
It stands as an entertaining nostalgia trip for fans and not a lot more. A moderately insightful approach to the Janus Cobain aesthetic, the film trudges along with it’s socio-psychological approach and slams on the brakes for an abrupt halt, to leave the complex and controversial suicide/murder issue cold, as if it was taboo within the schema or protocol. The films purpose does seem to have a point, but one that wavers and becomes aimless at times, leaving you either a tad mournful or slightly impassive as the credits roll.
Montage of Heck is currently showing at FACT, Liverpool. For show times click here.