Posted April 10, 2015 by editor in Film Reviews

Cobain: Montage Of Heck Review


And at last some 21 years after the passing of tragic music legend Kurt Cobain do we now get this elongated look at his life from start to finish. Montage of Heck very carefully delivers view of Cobain’s life from his hypoer-active younger years, to his troubled times during his parent’s divorce where he lived with various family members, to suddenly being in a band with two guys who it seemed in a short space of time would become international stars over night.

Montage of Heck is a name taken from Cobain’s own demo recordings and is aptly used here as a title as the piece is often an artful look at his life and potentially how he felt about the world around him with use of a variety of media including a lot of old footage from the family archives that create literal music and visual montages. There is also a strong use of his music – often re-recordings of some of the popular music Nirvana created, not to mention the actually produced material of the time as well.

The problem with the piece is that around half way in it really starts to get very dreary. This is perhaps unavoidable due to the subject matter, but you really get a sense that this was indeed a man living in misery and unhappy with his success. Self-loathing and hate of fame are hammered home so often that it threatens to pull the viewer out simply because of the incessant morose tone.

Fans of Nirvana and Cobain will have no issue soaking up every minute of footage and retrospective thought on the man, but anyone who is not a fan of the subject matter will have a harder time tolerating the piece (as it runs at well over 2 hours). It’s a finely constructed documentary, but does wallow in all of the self pity.

Dave Grohl is probably one of the names that is most missing from the assorted mix of talking heads. This isn’t actually a huge loss for this piece though as even those that do have something to say keep it relevant and focus is never shifted off onto them. Even Courtney Love manages to stay on point.

This then could well be the last hoorah for an intimate look at Cobain on the documentary front. They have certainly gone all out in terms of style, so is well worth a look.

Steven Hurst