Warren Rome

Warren Rome

Author of the Macabre

Cobain "Montage of Heck"


It is easy to pick apart the numerous documentaries and literature surrounding the death of an icon.  Like many, I have read thousands upon thousands of pages on my heroes: Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Dimebag Darrell, Layne Stayley, Sid Vicious, and Kurt Cobain to name just a few.  It is the death of the latter on that short list that perhaps personally affected me more than any other. 


As a child I was brought up with stories of Morrison, Hendrix, and Joplin which set the groundworks for the hero-worship I would bestow upon the Doors lead singer and icon, Jim Morrison.  Paris was the destination of my first ever Foreign holiday and the reason: "To visit the resting place and every haunt imaginable of the infamous poet and singer".  However, despite all of this, the death of the grunge legend is the one that stopped me in my tracks more than any other. Kurt Cobain's death happened when I was a frail pupil at school.  I remember ascending my parents stairs as the old grainy news report emerged and spluttered into our living room.  The unforgettable and despressing scene of the police force and the medics removing the lifeless body of the hero of a generation.  Little did we know that this was the beginning of a muddled story of conspiracy, drugs, sex, rock and roll and murder?  Maybe it was because it happened when I was a mere young scamp and embedded into my soul like a needle into a vein.


Thankfully this movie does not focus on the death of Cobain.  Instead it provides an insight into his life and the success of his band, Nirvana.  I have seen all of the movies: "Kurt and Courtney", "About A Son", "Apologies", "The Boy In The Bubble", "The Early Life Of A Legend", "All Apologies" and the list goes on...  I was delighted to see that his much maligned father was interviewed as was his first girlfriend, mother, and step-mother.  The access to the family archives was welcome and new, something the film could boast and was a refreshing change from the second-hand gossip and innuendo often present in the docuimentaries I mentioned earlier.  Courtney Love was as interesting in her interview as ever.  Love or hate her (sorry), the footage of Kurt and Courtney was both revealing and sometimes made for uncomfortable viewing; most notably, the close up macro-shots of their kissing and intimate moments were close to the knuckle and hard to watch.


The use of Nirvana's music certainly added to the movie and although it has received criticism in some quarters, the animated sequences I found entertaining and a novel way of telling parts of the story.  The film with a rather generous ruuning time of nearing two and a half hours certainly cannot be accused of lacking in detail.  From early footage of Kurt from a baby to a child, to his teenage days looking for a real home, I thought there was plenty of stuff for even the hardened and completist Nirvana fan.


Although I enjoyed the film it was not without it's flaws and usual innuendo one often finds with documentaries on our icon's.  Perhaps it is too difficult for the director's of such movies to remove themselves and avoid including their own personal opions and conceptions.  I felt this movie intimated that Kurt was suicidal and depressive, that he could not take any more etc.  This is all well and good, there is plenty of evidence out there to support such theories.  However, if one wishes to take this tone and suggestion, then surely they should use the best evidence available to support such reasoning and rhetoric.  For example, at a point in the movie when discussing Kurt's state of mind and depression, the evidence used to support the theory he was intent on killing himself, was an animated shot of his journals.  The camera zooms rapidly into the colourful annotation and scribble of Cobain "Kill Myself, Kill Myself, Kill Myself... etc".  Fine...  however, under that paragraph were the words "Rape is good, Rape is good, Rape is good..."   Now, ask any self-respecting Kurt Cobain fan, and they would tell you that Cobain detested the idea of rape, be it the feeling of being raped by the media or for the act of physical rape in the sexual context.  Thus, these notes suddenly take on the context of irony, making the point that the movie was attempting to make at that moment, void.  Even if this is not the case, it can be interpreted as such and I and as I have witnessed, many viewers are inclined to agree, so is rather poor editing and lazy researching not to mention, direction.


The extra's on the Blu-ray were rather disappointing but that is only a small gripe.  This is a movie that focuses on Kurt and Nirvana and is not bogging itself down too much with the final chapter.  Maybe they could have included a little more on Kurt's death.  Death is a part of life and as such, perhaps concluding the movie with the words "Kurt took his own life..." could have been avoided and they could have touched upon the tragic end.  Maybe, but with the movie only released recently "Soaked in Bleach" then I feel we may have this covered and it could be an excellent accompaniment to "Heck".


If you are a fan of Kurt, Nirvana, Grunge, Rock music, or documentaries, go and watch the movie.  I highly recommend it.  Touching, uplifitng, thought-evoking, depressing...  More importantly, entertaining.  8/10 ********


Link to trailer:






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