Cobain: Montage of Heck

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 98%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 87%
IMDb Rating 7.5 10 25


Downloaded 197,649 times
April 14, 2019



Courtney Love as Gretchen
Dave Grohl as Self
Kurt Cobain as Self
1.95 GB
23.976 fps
145 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by DeltaHomicide 5 / 10 / 10

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.

Reviewed by edrx-15144 8 / 10 / 10

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.

Reviewed by ecmelton-186-105049 8 / 10 / 10

The best Cobain focused documentary I've seen.

Some will complain that the documentary doesn't focus enough on Nirvana, and there's a very good reason for that. It's not a documentary about Nirvana; the film is intended to provide a more intimate look at Kurt Cobain as a person and provide insight into his more private and guarded moments. In that respect it is pretty successful. Nirvana's history is very well publicised, and the film assumes it's viewers are already fans that know a lot about the band (Why else would you watch a movie about the band's frontman?) The films biggest selling point is that for the first time a director had the full cooperation of Cobain's family and access to the archive of materials he left behind, much of it had never been seen by the public eye before. These include home movies dating back to him as baby, behind the scene footage, and audio recordings. There is also going to be a companion book dedicated to never before seen photos and other materials that were unearthed. Unfortunately, it's not as exciting as it sounds. There may have been information I had never heard before, but none of it was surprising or profound. It all falls in line with what you would expect if you knew anything about Kurt going in. (I'm sure some people will disagree and say they found it shocking, but I didn't.) That being said the archival materials were well utilized and had a good presentation that fit into the story that was being told. It was nice to see them even if it was an over- hyped aspect of the movie. From a technical standpoint the film really is a marvel. The animated transitions were a great way to incorporate the drawings and doodles that littered Kurt's notebooks. There are also scenes featuring puppetry and stop motion that are also inspired by his art and/or song lyrics. These are all really cool and actually provide more insight to his artistic style and writing process than you would think. Additionally, several segments are entirely animated, and they look beautiful. Doing this is much more captivating than just just showing people talk about events or have a voice-over with a slideshow of pictures. It was a very good choice, and adds a lot to the viewing experience. The film's soundtrack features live Nirvana recordings, covers and remixes, as well as music by other artist that fit the scenes, such as the Buddy Holly song that plays over his parents home movies from the '60s. This is well executed and I particularly love the violin rendition of "Smell Like Teen Spirit" that was used to mimic an orchestral score in the longest animated sequence. Overall the film is an energetic and seemingly honest look at Kurt Cobain and the man he was. It was well made, entertaining, and a worthwhile documentary that stands head and shoulders above any other documentaries about him.

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