"it is a worthy, commendable addition to Morgen’s catalogue of work"

For fans of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, there isn’t much that is new information but nevertheless this film is definitely worth a watch.  With 12 minutes of new material and a mixed media format, it’s refreshing how it helps to keep some distance from the story without being alienated by it.  There will always be a slant to films like this but I feel this time around that a relatively unbiased picture has been achieved, showing as many of Kurt’s flaws as it does his strokes of genius.

So whether you are merely reminiscing or being introduced to the man behind the music for the first time, this is a ride worth taking.

Kurt Cobain is one of those icons whose stardom burnt fast and bright.  With only half a decade in the spotlight it is no wonder that he’s one of the most talked about musicians of my generation.  From the moment Brett Morgen’s documentary begins, it is clear that this isn’t some rose-tinted homage, despite being crafted by those who were close to Cobain.  This is a no holds barred look at his life (for all that it was) and it’s then up to you to decide whether you agree with how he lived it.

The aim seems to have been to include as much “evidence” as possible: home movies, backstage clips, interviews, newspaper clippings, TV recordings & audio tapes that Cobain recorded throughout his life.  This structure is what I found most intriguing; all this information is bitty and so to fill in the gaps, animations have been created to set scenes for the audio tapes and also to bring Cobain’s sketches to life.  The effect is rather than feeling overloaded, the film is segmented into manageable chapters; switching between interviews, gig footage, music videos and said animations.

You’re never allowed to get too engrossed in one particular part of the story or point of view because it will suddenly switch.  On the most part, I liked this. It’s new, interesting and helps me feel like I could form an unbiased decision without being completely emotionally manipulated by a director’s agenda.  The only flaw with this design is that there are three distinct moments where it feels like the film has ended.  This may have been intended as respite from the flashes of colour, sound and emotional, but, for me at least, it makes parts of it drag.

The content itself is solid – the majority of the information isn’t new but it is well delivered and the revelations we get feel all the more fascinating for it.  The interviews are especially beneficial to the overall project, creating more questions than answers.  I left the cinema with the utmost admiration for the bravery of those creating this documentary: parents talk about their own flaws and the effects it has on their child’s life is not an easy thing to do, especially to a global audience.

All in all Cobain is certainly worth seeing whether you know much about Cobain’s life or not and in my opinion it is a worthy, commendable addition to Morgen’s catalogue of work.