Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015) 1080p

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Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015) 1080P - Movie Poster
Documentary | Biography
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Run Time:
145 min
IMDB Rating:
8 / 10 
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Directors: Brett Morgen [Director] ,

Movie Description:
An authorized documentary on the late musician Kurt Cobain, from his early days in Aberdeen, Washington to his success and downfall with the grunge band Nirvana.


  • Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015) 1080P - Movie Scene 1
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  • Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015) 1080P - Movie Scene 1

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Thirsty for More

I found Montage of Heck to be a scatter-brained documentary that couldn't decide which direction to go. It grabs at various forms of media culled from Cobain's family, and tosses them into a blender, with splashes of interviews and band footage.

There were some stunningly rotoscoped animation, using narration from Cobain, that briefly takes you through his dejected teenage years in Aberdeen, Washington. They also rendered the years Cobain spent living with his first girlfriend, Tracy Marander, who supported him when Nirvana started getting noticed. Marander isn't shown (only in interviews and rare photos), we just see how Kurt spent his days being creative while she was at work. Anyway, not long after, the band signed to Sub Pop and released Bleach.

There were also drawings and writings (many would make Jack Kerouac's "spontaneous prose" seem lucid by comparison) from his sketchbooks / journals, that were brought to life using muted computer graphics. These were scattered throughout, and became laborious after about the 10th time. Still, the music that accompanied them were great. We get to hear plenty of unreleased material, and I even noticed some Nirvana covers, which felt redundant.

Now, cue in Courtney Love. Sigh. It was annoying seeing her all dolled up by a makeup artist, chain-smoking and sounding incredibly untruthful about Kurt's last couple of months. I won't ruin it, but it's towards the end of the film and it made me more suspicious of her. The home videos of Kurt, Courtney, and Frances Bean were quite touching, although at times it got dark, especially some moments with just Kurt and Courtney (not 100% on who recorded them). You know he was the happiest he's ever been, but they were also plunging into the abyss of heroin and other drugs.

Overall, Montage of Heck started off as a sweet concoction that ultimately left me with a bitter aftertaste. I hear that 'About a Son' is the superior documentary, so I'll watch that in hopes of getting a deeper insight into Kurt Cobain and Nirvana.

Review of Montage of Heck

When Montage of Heck, a Sundance Film Festival award winning movie directed by Brett Morgan, was released, Rolling Stone Magazine called it "the most intimate rock doc ever made". This could not be more true. Frances Bean Cobain was credited as a producer for the project which was terrific news for Morgan. Courtney Love is, quite frankly, a nut case, all of the rights to Kurt Cobain's music, recordings, notebooks, and home movies are in Frances' name. These rights are exercised to their fullest extent in this movie.

Many other documentaries focus on one story, told in different parts by people related to the subject. There is very little music or excitement in them. A documentary about Kurt Cobain had better be playing Nirvana nonstop. Not only that, but the film features popular music from his childhood and live performances, and even includes arrangements of songs like Smells Like Teen Spirit. Certain guitar parts or vocals are isolated and played to create certain moods over a scene. The entire soundtrack is quite genius actually.

The interviews are told by people that are generally well known to Nirvana fans and the public. Krist Novecelic (Nirvana's bassist) and Courtney Love (Cobain's wife) are amongst several people who contribute to the story, along with Kurt's parents and the muse of Nevermind, Kurt's ex-girlfriend Tracy. Each person has another heartbreaking piece of the Cobain legacy. As stated before though, this isn't the only way the story is told.

The home movies and recordings are pieced together in this amazing time line that lay most of Kurt's life out on the screen. Kurt Cobain was a mystery to the world. He told such extravagant stories and lied because, as the voice of Kurt explains, he was bullied as a child and wanted to make himself "cool". First of all, hearing him talk about being bullied possesses such a humanizing effect, Kurt seems like another run of the mill faceless kid, which is exactly what he was before Nirvana. And also, it is such a refreshing way to hear a story. Rather than be told one opinion of the man by people who knew him, the viewer can watch, god like, over the story and form their own opinion.

For the parts of his life that were not recorded, Kurt's digital journal was used as the narration for an animated version of 1980's Aberdeen, 1990's Seattle, and everywhere he was in-between. The story is interesting to be heard with an artists rendition to help the viewer visualize the story better.

Listening to Kurt's voice on these stories is amazing, while being a little demented. It's a great strategy to get the audience closer, but while some of the audio clips were from interviews, some sounded as if they were recorded journal entries. Almost as if everyone watching the film was reading his diary.

Kurt was quoted saying that he never wanted all the fame. People constantly trying to figure him out and get in his head made him uncomfortable all the time. Had Cobain himself seen the film, he probably would've hated it. Every aspect of this poor man's life was too chaotic for a perfectly strong person to handle. Kurt was a sad boy at heart who had a broken brain and a rotting stomach. Every single morning, he would wake up to a swarm of thoughts constantly stinging him like yellow jackets. Which makes Montage of Heck a perfect title for a story about the tragedy of Cobain. Rather than focus on the band and his contribution to rock and roll, Montage brings the viewer into the enigmatic mind of Nirvana's front man. From the beginning where he was a giddy, creative, and loving little kid, to the end where the weight of being the worlds biggest rock star makes him want to taste the shell of a shotgun blast. The legend of Kurt Cobain is a difficult thing to capture, but Montage of Heck does an exceptional job of telling it.

An insult to a talented man

A sad exploitation of a talented man. As a film sanctioned by his estate, it was clear this was only part of the story and only the part that they wanted to put the spin on. What a disgrace to paint Kurt Cobain as nothing but suicidal long before the success of Nirvana. The 2 1/2 hour documentary is tolerable for only about the first hour. After that, the backstory of Kurt Cobain is polluted by the relationship choice he made and a highly biased or third-party influenced (or paid for?) fallacy that this young man, despite having fulfilled his goal of being a recognized musician and having the possibly unexpected pleasure of being a father, wanted nothing more than to die. The snippets from his journals seem taken very much out of context, again to push the idea this man was suicidal for years, and the Pink Floyd "The Wall"-esque animations are cheesy and make this overly-long film a burden to continue to watch until the end. The saddest part for me was watching Kurt Cobain's mother and father, who both rejected him and would not allow him to live with him while he was a teenager, snivel about their loss. You didn't want him then, but you want him now? Many authoritative sources have debunked some of his mother's statements in this film. Very sad. Others who knew him personally adamantly have denied events portrayed in the film, even as the words came from Kurt himself, the sources noting that Kurt was quick to embellish or make up stories to cause subterfuge in the rampant media coverage at the time of his popularity.Also very telling is that Krist Novelic was interviewed for the film but not Dave Grohl due to "scheduling conflicts." In other words, he did not want or was not invited to participate and some PR firm concocted a reason for his absence that some may choose to believe. Watch the first hour to see some precious moments of Kurt as a youngster, skip the last 90 minutes unless you enjoy being manipulated.
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