Montage of Heck Review
Even though I gave up my angry-teen anthems playlist a couple of years ago, I can still recall how it felt having a mess of feelings packed inside and dying to get them out but not quite knowing how. It is that precise feeling I get every time the sound waves of Cobain’s voice hit my eardrum. It would come early in the afternoon in the notes of Come As You Are as the sun would be gently setting out of the window and I’d be curled up in my bed, or late at night in the notes of Smells Like Teen Spirit in some club packed with ecstatic teenagers singing along at the top of their voices.
Montage of Heck breaks through the image of the ‘spokesman’ of a whole generation, and gives an intimate insight into the people and moments that shaped his tormented psyche which would eventually pour some of the most intense teen-angst anthems of all time.
All that was to shape Kurt Cobain as the image engraved in all of us today began when his parents’ divorce scarred him irremediably. After a series of painful abandonments by his mother and then his father and stepmom within a year, he becomes a loner who finds shelter in marijuana in order to relieve himself from his nervous breakdowns. Gradually accumulating a manipulating fear of ridicule, he would grow apart from his classmates – which he considered as “phony” – and spend most of his time hanging out with fellow stoners he wasn’t particularly fond of either. His suicidal thoughts drove him to take advantage of a mentally handicapped girl because he had no other options and wanted to experience sex before taking his own life. The rumour would spread around school and lead Kurt to give up his education.
In the following years, not quite fitting to the profile of a nine-to-five working man, he is supported by his girlfriend Tracy Marander who works while he is at home writing songs, recording and working on his virginal attempt to start a band. The band will slowly evolve into the now legendary Nirvana.
When he meets Courtney Love he falls in love and decides to build the home he never had. His heroin addiction will cause him some serious troubles when Love is pregnant and rumours spread through the media of drug use during her pregnancy. Frances Bean Cobain is born and healthy, and after a battle in courts for their daughter’s custody they manage to stay clean and raise their daughter. Cobain is head over heels in love with baby Frances and was as happy as he would ever be. After he ‘senses’ that Courtney would cheat on him he attempts suicide and falls into a coma. His failed suicide attempt will be followed by a successful one on April 8, 1994 when he dies at the age of 27.
Ever since he was a child, hyperactive and all, he would draw and play his guitar. His teenage years are projected through animation along his own sketches coming to life by Stefan Nadelman and Hisko Hulsing. Footage of home movies alternated with photographs, his journal entries, some of his few interviews and live shows create what is over all a deeply heartfelt portrait of the man who felt everything so intensively. The best part of the 2 hour long experience could not be anything else than the music; which will leave you humming to the rhythm of ‘Where did you sleep’ as soon as the credits roll.