Despite Nirvana, and by extension Kurt Cobain featuring a massive role in my early musical life, I really didn’t pick up much on Kurt’s own life as I was a child that found music on the music channels on TV and didn’t have access, nor want to buy music magazines. As a result, the music, the music videos and the live shows were all I had to garner an interest on. Montage of Heck goes all the way to satisfying any curiosity I have over Kurt Cobain’s life and does it in a way that’s respectful and honest.
Montage of Heck was created by Brett Morgen whom has managed to get hold of an incredible amount of footage and possessions that are left over from Kurt’s life. Although not much remains, what’s there is a collection of scrap books for art, music and lyrics alongside a collection of audio tapes that Kurt seemed to keep to document his life like a living journal. It’s here where the documentary comes alive as Kurt, narrating his own life, thoughts and feelings, is used as the background narration to his own photos, home video, live gig footage and hand drawn animations. The way how it’s all thrown together is chaotic, freeflowing and much like Kurt’s world – full on and full throttle. There’s plenty to learn, plenty of absorb and almost immediately plenty to lament over.
Much of the film speaks of his need to love and be loved deeply yet in tandem, seemingly pushing it away at the same time. Throughout all his work it’s a common thread alongside his struggle to deal with the world he hates full of people he loves. It also shows how drugs played their mighty role in everything. It also steers clear of his death too, stopping just as he came out of rehab a month prior to his death.
Montage of Heck is a remarkably open, honest and detailed documentary, in many ways because Kurt seemingly documented his life as he went in artistic detail. The interviews are frank, although Dave Grohl is noticeably absent, but the entire thing leaves you in wonder and in sadness. A fine montage of heck indeed.