Kurt Cobain is a tragic figure. And that seems to be the whole gist of “Montage of Heck”.
With the consent of Cobain’s family, filmmaker Brett Morgen made this “warts and all” look into the life and time of the Nirvana frontman. Covering everything from Cobain’s childhood, his troubled family life, his eventual success with Nirvana, and his untimely death, “Montage of Heck” doesn’t really say anything new. However, thanks to Morgen’s directing style, the film still managed to keep things interesting.
Peppered throughout the film are some rare home footage of a young Kurt, some unheard of songs and sound bites (most of which featured animated reenactments), and Kurt’s illustrations. Much like “The Devil and Daniel Johnston”, “Montage of Heck” is as much about the art as it is about the artist. Despite being filtered through the eyes of Cobain’s family and friends, “Montage of Heck” is still the closest we’ll ever have to Kurt talking about himself in his own words. To loosely quote Krist Novoselic, “When you look at the art, it’s all there.”
“Montage of Heck” doesn’t add anything new to the narrative, but the fact that it avoided being speculative and sensationalistic about Kurt’s passing and his mental state makes it refreshing. Add to that the energetic art style, and you have yourself an interesting documentary that would satisfy both Nirvana fans and new listeners alike.