Montage of Heck
there may be spoilers
I had to watch this one twice, once again the very next day. Why? Because it was just that good.
As far as documentaries go, Montage of Heck will likely be among the best ever produced. It has an amazing bringing together of Kurt's journals, music, and artwork as well as interviews and other snippets of his conversations with which it tells Kurt's story.
It would probably help to be a fan of Kurt to fully appreciate this, but I believe it would appeal to and impress any fan of documentary film.
What moved me the most was a certain completeness of a perspective and insight offered by the material and its organized unfolding. As someone who has read many biographies on Kurt and Nirvana as well as watched many films and TV segments on the subject, Montage of Heck just blew me away. So much footage I have never seen. It all provided such an amazing new point of view and interpretation on Kurt and his life and who he was as a man, it totally corrected and shifted my pre-existing notions.
It's like I was introduced to a brand new yet still familiar person. I thought I knew him but I had no idea.
Kurt was a truly special person and it amazes me how someone's upbringing can so fundamentally shape and form a person's future in innumerable ways. Ultimately, it was an intrinsically deep character flaw that tormented and pushed him to end his life. His fear of and incapability to deal with humiliation.
The way Krist and Courtney were delivered as the cornerstones in this film pleased and moved me greatly. The overall lack of presence from Dave Grohl made sense to me given the focus of the film and his actual place in what I know about Kurt's life. The other insights provided by Kurt's relatives and closest friends played an essential role too.
I have to point out one small moment of live footage around the 1:08:00 mark that just floored me. The angle and quality of that particular bit of stage footage was just so good that it made me feel for a second that he was alive today and this is what a 2015 version of Kurt would look like. That segment also shined a light on how beautifully processed some of the footage was for this documentary.
Lastly, I'd like to end this review by highlighting Courtney Love's presence in this film and her effect on his life. The footage of them together was nothing short of colourfully explosive. Their relationship and creativity was unlike any other I've seen. A type of surreal world created by and existing only within them. Montage of Heck provided dare I say the truest representation of Courtney and Kurt ever offered.
The film provided the viewer all the important and need to know pieces to this puzzle. It left out certain details concerning the behind the scenes workings of Kurt and the band as a businessman and a business respectively, but the tidbits that were shown do help to ignite the imagination and set it on the right path.
A disgruntled youth turned troublemaker with no focused outlet, to dedicated creative soul to an unwitting victim of being in the right place at the right time, finally destroyed by that which fundamentally threatened him as a human being. Montage of Heck, a fitting moniker to encapsulate it all.
Special mention: Krist Novoselic in this documentary was just incredible. His honesty and the sense of sharing and openness you get from him added a pricelessness to it all that I just can't express and emphasize enough.