Cobain: Montage of Heck


Action / Animation / Biography / Documentary / Music

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 98%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 87%
IMDb Rating 7.6 10 23496


Uploaded By: OTTO
Downloaded 189,771 times
May 24, 2015 at 10:30 PM



Courtney Love as Herself
Kurt Cobain as Himself
Dave Grohl as Himself
1.95 GB
23.976 fps
2hr 25 min
P/S 7 / 111

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by tonepv 5 / 10

I'm disappointed in this movie and the hype surrounding it.

I am saddened at how so many critics, journalists and fans are irresponsibly throwing around the phase "the definitive documentary" in regards to Kurt Cobain. This film is absolutely not definitive. It offers a very narrow slice of Kurt's life and has little to no focus on his craft, which is the one thing Kurt wanted people to examine more than anything.

The title "Montage of Heck", taken from one of Kurt's old mixtapes, is surely a fitting name. The film makes use of several clips from Kurt's home videos, drawings, notebooks, poetry, love letters and more. The editing in these montages is gorgeous and alluring, and there are some animation segments that are absolutely beautiful. Nonetheless, these sections of the film often dragged on too long and felt like they were unnecessarily repetitive, distracting from the narrative instead of serving it and over-selling us on parts of Kurt's mind and inner turmoil which were already very clear.

Speaking of narrative, the one story this film tells is a story we already know and understand too well. The film has a single theme only, which is to use personal media graciously offered from the Cobain family to tell the story of a talented, hyper-sensitive tortured soul and drug addict who killed himself, and the cloud of chaos that lead up to that point. There is little to no insight on his art, only the struggles that propelled him to make his art, which are much less interesting because as an audience we are well aware of what negative habits can do to the psyche or physical health, but the real intrigue is what a person creates or does despite those issues. Perhaps that's my opinion, though.

The irony here is saddening. This film, somehow managed to spend over 2 hours on highlighting the product of a failed marriage and broken upbringing, drug abuse, Courtney, ridicule and the pressures of press, all of which are the exact same things that ultimately lead to the recluse Kurt became and fed into his tragic suicide. This film somehow managed to become the enemy and mirrored everything Kurt tried to run away from.

All that being said, I guess in the spirit of Rock and Roll, there is no real justice. Kurt won't get the movie he deserves, even after his death we seem to continue to focus on the obvious redundant clichés of the dark sides of his life. Although those things are real and an important part of his story, they are indeed only one part. That isn't definitive at all. As Kurt always said, "Just listen to the music, everything I have to say is there". He wasn't lying.

Reviewed by crocolm 7 / 10

Intense portrayal which relies on source material

It's 21 years since Kurt Cobain's death by suicide and his status as a legendary alternative rock figure and totem for a disaffected generation has not dimmed in the intervening period.

Although I had been eagerly awaiting this documentary, at the same time I approached it with a wariness more than half expecting it to be a depressing encounter. Given what I already knew about the mental difficulties and addiction problems Kurt faced during his short life and the eventual sad outcome it was hard to believe that anything of a positive nature could be wrung from seeing this.

This is the first official documentary made about the life of Kurt Cobain. It has been made with the co-operation of his family. His daughter Frances Bean is an executive producer. His parents, sister, wife- Courtney Love, first girlfriend and fellow band member Chris Novoselic (the third band member Dave Grohl is the notable absentee) have all contributed, allowing themselves to be interviewed.

The expectation of access to intimate home videos as well as Kurt's own drawings, writing, outpourings etc and other previously unseen footage bringing with it the possibility of gaining a clearer view on Kurt Cobain's life is probably the thing which will entice most viewers to go see this. This heavy reliance on this intimate source material makes for an intense portrayal of the subject. It's also what makes it a success. It's noticeable how often for instance on screen we are shown up-close, his own words in his hand-writing in the original copybook complete with stains and other words and sentences crossed out. It's the closest place the director can bring us, next to occupying Kurt's mind. Much of the writing is angry and nihilistic but there are lots of lists too- of things to do for example; it all suggests a wildly active mind and one not easy to keep a rein on.

Home videos himself and Courtney produced, both while pregnant with, and then after Frances Bean was born similarly get us up-close and personal. It's excruciating to watch but compelling too- a couple wrapped up in each other but also in their drug dependency. When Frances Bean is born his love for her is touching but then the videos also reveal the declining health as the heroin addiction spirals.

As intense and personal as it is there are no major revelatory insights into the life or death of Kurt Cobain in this documentary. This is not a failing of the documentary as I don't think any revelatory new angles or expositions could have been expected. As well as this the title (taken from the name of a mix-tape Kurt put together) does indicate obfuscation or a lack of clarity or certainty about a picture drawn. So it should be; where a life ends so tragically definitive answers can never be presented and any distillation of his life or death into neat summations is thankfully and rightly avoided.

The documentary tells us the following (which in essence we already know or suppose we know). Kurt was an energetic, intelligent child who became withdrawn and angry as he got older, probably owing largely to his parent's divorce. He was often a lone, self-hating teenager who found a release from his angst in smoking pot and then at a certain age he discovered punk music which lit a torch and he began to teach himself guitar and write music. He was disaffected enough and genius enough to write brilliantly disaffected genius songs. His music struck a chord, Nirvana became huge almost overnight and then he struggled with the idea of being held up as a spokesperson for a generation. Desperately insecure, above all else he craved love and a need for rootedness- a family to belong to. He found this with Courtney Love and later their daughter. He sought refuge in them away from what he saw as a hostile world but tragically he also sought refuge in heroin.

Reviewed by Jane_the_Ripper 5 / 10

More of an Overview

I'm not sure why this is being touted as "the definitive documentary" on Kurdt's life. It basically skims over most of the important events which can be found in more detail in Heavier Than Heaven. Several key players in his life are left out of this documentary completely. There are some unseen videos of him as a small child, but the concert footage is mostly stuff that can be found on previously released Nirvana DVDs. There's also a big deal made of showing us his journals, but his journals were already published in 2002.

And then there's Courtney Love. She isn't mentioned at all until halfway through the documentary, but after that point, she shares most of Kurt's screen time. There are several home videos of them goofing around and being silly together and playing with Frances, which gives the impression that their entire relationship was a bed of roses, even though most of those close to the couple have said the opposite over the years. The only hint this documentary gives of their marital troubles is toward the end when Courtney says Kurt killed himself because she *considered* cheating on him (she doesn't admit to actually doing it). The other big problem here is Kurt's parents. I've never much liked them after reading Come As You Are and Heavier Than Heaven and watching this documentary made me really angry at them. It's clear that they agreed to do this not to help shed light on Kurt's life but to save face and try to bury the fact that they screwed up their son's life in a very big way. I mean, they're more than willing to point the finger at each other, such as when Wendy brings up how emotionally abusive Don was to Kurt or Don pointing out that Wendy "couldn't handle" Kurt but they only tear the other down to make themselves look better.

Oh and don't even get me started on Don's second wife (Kurt's stepmom) Jenny. She's still maintaining her narrative that Kurt was just a bad boy who acted out for no reason even though she was soooooo nice to him. Funny how the director didn't feel it was necessary to include Leland's (Kurt's grandfather) testimony that after Don married Jenny, he showed preferential treatment to Jenny's kids over Kurt, almost as if he was afraid Jenny would leave him like Wendy had. As for Jenny, I have no doubt that she treated her own kids better than Kurt since they were hers after all. The more I look at it, the more MoH seems like a whitewashing campaign launched by Kurt's family to try to absolve themselves of any responsibility for screwing up their child's formative years.

Overall, this is not really an essential documentary.

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