Montage of Heck

We all know how the story ends, and given that, I should have been more prepared for how fucking gloomy this shit is.

Of course it’s gloomy. If you can recall the lyrics of any one of Nirvana’s songs, literally pick any kurt-cobain-montage-of-heck-posterone at random, and I guarantee you, it ain’t happy. The inside of Kurt Cobain’s head was not all picnics and pantaloons. He was raw pain at times, and the brilliance of this documentary is sheer access to pretty rare footage – home videos, private diaries and notebooks, childhood photos. It doesn’t have the guts to stab at answers but it does ask a lot of questions and highlight a lot of recurrent themes – the search for meaning, wanting to belong, extreme sensitivity to rejection and humiliation. Not great character traits for someone who would achieve absurd stardom.

But there’s also the ease he seems to feel with is daughter, and even Courtney, and his transcendent love of playing music live. This last seems to have come at a great cost to him personally, and his suicide begins to feel inevitable.

Interviews with his family members, former band mate, and even Courtney, help to flesh out the story. Kurt himself addresses us through notebooks and old videos. Notably absent: Frances Bean, and Dave Grohl.

The documentary sort of blurs between his creative genius and his personal pain, which I suppose is a pretty accurate representation of what Nirvana was at the time. Director Brett Morgen uses some interesting techniques to bring Cobain back to life for a couple of hours. It made me think of who Kurt would be today if he was still here. Oh the melancholy.


15 thoughts on “Montage of Heck

    1. Jay Post author

      There is in fact a reason for it, as Jordan pointed out, but I agree it makes for kind of a weak title and wish they’d gone with something else.


  1. Jordan Dodd

    Great write up. I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts, it really does seem to bring Kurt alive for two hours. And by not dwelling on his death we really get a picture of what the man was like.


  2. ninvoid99

    Great review. There was a reason why Dave Grohl wasn’t interviewed. He was busy doing his own documentary and by the time he was available. The film was already finished. I’m sure his interview will be on the DVD/Blu-Ray.


  3. Brittani

    I thought this was very interesting, but I felt SO uncomfortable watching his home videos. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I wasn’t expecting to feel that way. Watching two obviously high people with a baby was depressing.


  4. J.

    Nice write-up. Used to love Nirvana when I was a tad younger and although much of the Cobain story is out there, I’m fairly interested in this and the Grant one that’s on the horizon (or released already?).


  5. moxieluster

    Heart shape box.. it’s about Courtneys ..well..vagina. Not very gloomy Lol.

    I actually enjoyed this documentary more then I thought I would, it made me cry a few times, pissed me off a few times as well. Loved it.



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