HomeMoviesTV Recap: Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck

TV Recap: Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck

Written by Marley Ghizzone


Montage of Heck documents the life of Kurt Cobain, the man. This documentary was not about the frontman of Nirvana, but about the full personhood behind the music.

Montage of Heck was a wild experience I was not fully prepared to witness. The entire documentary was a compilation of audio tracks, diary pages, home videos, and artwork by Kurt Cobain. Interspersed among the personal memorabilia were interviews with family and close friends, interviews from Nirvana’s heyday, concert recordings, magazine clippings, news reports, pop culture clips, and pictures from professional photoshoots. All of this was glued together with a soundtrack made completely from songs pulled straight out of Nirvana’s discography.


This was a hard documentary to watch. To be honest, I am not a diehard Nirvana fan — I only recently delved into the 90s Seattle grunge scene, thanks to Dave Grohl’s Sonic Highways. This tiny and tenuous connection to the impact and importance of Kurt Cobain did not prepare me for what was in store.

Well-made with a thorough storyline, Montage of Heck is a spectacularly created piece of work. It is eerie. It is created like a stream of consciousness but with a linear timeline. Watching it felt like being in someone’s, Cobain’s, mind. It’s horrific.

I couldn’t watch it all the way through. I had to pause it and put away my laundry, make my bed, and talk to my friends. I was overwhelmed and needed a breather because something was throwing me off. The pictures and art by Cobain were animated, as were some of the diary entries. The images were graphic and twisted at times. The whole thing was harrowing.

It was almost too personal. The home videos gave the audience and inside look at a man whose emotions and mental state completely took over. But we were given the chance to see something more than what was portrayed of him in the media. We got to see him happy, playful, silly. We saw him with his daughter. We saw intimate moments with Courtney Love. It was weird and voyeuristic, and yet super, super sad because we already knew the ending.

Besides the videos with his daughter, my favorite part was the telling of his childhood. We hear it recounted by his mother and his father, with help from his sister and stepmother. Then we heard from Kurt Cobain himself. An audio recording played over an animation of his own story, added the third perspective of his childhood. He had a rough go of it, no one truly said otherwise, but it was interesting to hear where the three stories lined up and drifted apart.

While it is a must see, it is not a more than one viewing type of movie. The film will shake you too your core because for two hours you feel the intense emotion and hyper-vigilant creativity that was the driving force behind Cobain.

Kurt Cobain was a complicated person. He was destructive and depressed. He was creative and loving. Kurt Cobain was more than Nirvana but Nirvana was him. Montage of Heck highlighted the extreme connectedness Cobain will always have with music and music history.

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck airs this month on HBO.

Rating: 8.5 of 10



Marley Ghizzone
Marley Ghizzone
Marley Ghizzone is the current music editor and former Breaking News Editor for The Pop Break. Aside from writing news, Marley reviews television shows and the odd film. Pop culture is her drug of choice and her talents include binge watching entire seasons of TV shows obsessively fast and crying over fictional characters. Marley is a graduate of Rowan University. Follow her on twitter: @marleyveee

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