It’s one of those milestones that makes you feel old, but it’s been over twenty years now that Kurt Cobain took his life at the age of 27. If you were around then, and were a Nirvana fan, or even if you weren’t a fan, you probably remember where you were when you heard the news because it was certainly one of those generational watershed moments.
Now there’s a Kurt Cobain documentary that premiered at Sundance, Montage of Heck, and so far it’s getting mixed reviews. The Hollywood Reporter tells us that Heck, which was directed by Brett Morgen (The Kid Stays in the Picture), is “impressive in parts, but unruly as a whole…the supersized result, 132 minutes long, was made with unprecedented access to the Cobain family’s personal archives,” but that it’s “too repetitive for all but the biggest fans.”
Rolling Stone wrote that it’s “more than just a must-see for Nirvana fans. It’s an eight-years-in the-making collective labor of love that offers a private peek into the artist’s mind…you don’t just feel as if you’ve gotten to know the man better. You’re left completely emotionally spent.”
HitFix felt the movie “definitely doesn’t define the Nirvana icon,” yet The Verge calls it “arresting…a whirlwind trip through the life and mind of the musician that holds nothing back.”
From what we can gather about this documentary, we have the feeling it’s like a rock band itself in the sense that it’s excessive (in it’s running time especially), and one review called the documentary loud and aggressive. It also apparently captures the contradictions of its subject in a matter of fact way. (Charles R. Cross’s Cobain bio Heavier Than Heaven did a great job of presenting the guy warts and all without being judgmental.) Perhaps how much you like the end result will depend on how much of a Cobain fan you are, and Montage of Heck is heading to HBO in the spring.