Despite being a massive Nirvana fan I’ve always tended to stay away from the various documentaries and such that have emerged in the 21 years since Kurt’s death. Recently however, I’d noticed the ‘documentary’ “Montage of Heck”; a look through Kurt’s life told in the words of the man himself and some notable friends and family and former flames.
Watching montage of heck isn’t like any other Documentary or Biopic I’ve ever seen before. Think of it as a series of interviews connected by highly stylised animated segues that illustrate one of Kurt’s home recordings. I enjoyed Montage of Heck, and even watched it again, and then that was that.
Then I read some of the reviews on IMDB. So many people came out with 1 or 2 star reviews because this was an “insult to Mr. Cobain” as one reviewer wrote. The more you read through the comments the more polarizing reviews you will see, and so many of them come with that distasteful radical fanboy vitriol where writers claim if you like this you’re not a true fan, and that with Courtney’s involvement you should know all you need to know about this piece of dumbed-down crap. Except that’s really not a valid argument with Montage of Heck.
The are so many fans out there who still vehemently deny Kurt killed himself, that he wouldn’t do that to his fans it was all Courtney’s doing etc. etc. If JFK taught us anything is that a good conspiracy theory stands the test of time. For years this was my belief too, but what changed is that I realised that whatever you decide, unless you personally have the evidence that says Courtney was involved, you’re basing your beliefs on what someone else has told you is a fact, without any way of knowing one way or the other. It’s very unlike me but I actually found some closure here and decided to move on; accept that this thing you loved is done, new things will come out from time to time, demos, live performances and bootlegs but the book is closed.
What you will get out of Montage of Heck if you don’t preoccupy yourself looking for the smoking gun is a look into what propelled Kurt to write, play and sing the way he did, and as a true fan isn’t that better?