With any cultural icon there are many documentaries, and with those who are no longer with us they are all second hand accounts of what happened. In their effort to reveal they ironically add to the mystique. Fans will never truly understand their favorite musical heroes, the public is only given a portion of what makes up these icons and in most tragic cases documentaries and biopics tend to only focus on the more sensational aspects of their life.
‘Montage Of Heck’ still falls victim to these traps but it does have one ace up it’s sleeve, this is the first documentary about Kurt Cobain to have involvement from the Cobain family. His daughter had a hand in producing the film. The documentary brilliantly, and literally, illustrates a young Cobain’s troubled and alienated childhood with anime-like animations beautifully narrated by Cobain’s own personal journal entries from the time. All the pre-Nirvana footage and clips do a great job setting the state of mind of this iconic musician, and as the documentary proceeds the viewer sees how Kurt was not able to shake this mind state even with stardom.
Drug use and depression are apparent in the film, even the root causes of them are, but one aspect that is absent is really his passion for creativity- his true genius. Only glimpses are given, a short animation of Kurt working solo in a dark room on various musical projects is briefly. All and all the film is very will done and does open some of the closed doors to what it’s like being at the top of the world as a musician who’s hangups are very well still present. It does tend to keep a keen eye only on the sensational and unfortunately manages to keep the other many doors to Kurt’s personality shut from viewers.