Cobain: Montage of Heck

So what do we really know about the man they called Kurt Cobain the enigmatic front man of Nirvana, well we have his music and his diary and then there’s the Broomfield documentary ‘Kurt & Courtney’ and Gus Van Sant’s ‘Last Days’ but none of them come close to revealing the real Cobain like Brett Mogen’s ‘Montage Of Heck’ does. With unlimited access to the Cobain Archive Morgen, who made the superb ‘The Kid Stays in the Picture’, once again crafts a movie pieced together from photos, found footage, home movies, scrapbooks, animations and of course concert footage. It is unflinching in its telling of the real Kurt from his cute baby beginnings to his untimely end at just 27. One of the many things that stayed with me from the film was something Kurt’s mum said, if she is to be believed, that after he played her the master of ‘Nevermind’ she said ‘this is going to change everything, you better buckle up because you are not ready for this’. I was there at the time and having my own teenage issues and although it was a part of my life you kind of miss the impact it had but with hindsight it’s all there, 0 to 60 in no time, a global phenomenon that did just that, changed everything. The film is also littered with heart in mouth moments, there is one clip where I swear you can actually see Kurt’s spark go out and no matter what he did after the end seemed like a forgone conclusion. Unsurprisingly Courtney doesn’t come out of it looking well which is weird as she was so on board with the project and I’m sure that the footage from Reading where Kurt asks the audience to shout ‘we love you Courtney’ was people just getting swept up in the moment and I bet 70% had their fingers crossed. Like all great star crossed lovers there are people who are meant to be together but just should never be and I believe they fit firmly into that category. The most revealing though is when you peel back the veneer and witness not a rock god or spokesperson for a generation but just a man and a doting father, the moments between him and Francis make the bittersweet end of it all just seem worse. The phrase tortured genius is often overused but in this instant it fits, Cobain was obviously complex, talented, loving and sadly haunted and in the end the demons won and nothing he did could prevent that. Sadly for millions of people and mostly for his family Kurt went and left a heart shaped hole in the world the day he decided to end his own life.


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