Movie Review: “Montage of Heck”
Director Brett Morgan shines a light on the tragic and alluring life of Kurt Cobain in his new Sundance film, “Montage of Heck.” The film chronicles Cobain’s life through personal movies, photos, journal entries and audio montages.
The film also features interviews with Cobain’s closest friends and relatives, including a bandmate, his parents and, of course, his wife Courtney Love. Each interviewee attempts to give the viewers an understanding of the man behind the music.
In order to provide a genuine characterization of Cobain, the film highlights the many struggles the artist endured during his life, including his parents’ divorce and his virginity loss, which led to his first contemplation of suicide.
While watching the film, the audience may develop a personal connection to Cobain, which echoes the empathy he tried to capture in his music. Some may say Cobain helped define the ‘90s music scene with his rebellious attitude, but “Montage of Heck” doesn’t dwell on this aspect of his life.
Instead, the film attempts to illustrate Cobain’s life as an individual rather than a grunge-rock icon, giving the man’s life a new, creative perspective absent from other films and books.
“Montage of Heck” has all the elements that make a great film: grunge-rock, nostalgia and a beautiful man. Still, viewers most likely won’t want to watch the movie a second time. Despite the vibrant images and intriguing storyline, the audience can’t ignore the underlying positive bias of Cobain’s characterization in the film.
Though his life is shown in stunning detail, interviewees weave happy narratives that reflect the way they wanted Cobain’s story told. Unfortunately, the audience may find the film an incomplete and slanted account of the late musician’s life.
“Montage of Heck” (TV-MA, 145 min) is now playing at the ArcLight Bethesda Theater.Follow @danbourn14