KURT COBAIN: ABOUT A SON
(directed by A. J. Schnack, 2006)
**** (out of 5)
> While never a big fan of breakthrough grunge sensation Nirvana, I am a big fan of KURT COBAIN: ABOUT A SON. What a singular vision for a biodoc!
. Taking extensive audio recordings he made with the iconic and enigmatic frontman before his suicide in 1994, journalist/filmmaker Michael Azerrad takes a very unusual approach to the visuals, joining with (apparently) brilliant director of photography Wyatt Troll. Together, they made a long, evocative, stunningly-visualized montage that takes you through the environment that created a man like Kurt Cobain- without ever showing you pictures of the man himself (until the very end) and never once mentioning their big hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit”! But what we do see is so grandly realized, so elegantly beautiful, you could turn the soundtrack completely off and just watch it as pure visual art to your own soundtrack. (Strangely, Kurt Cobain’s music would hardly be the first choice to overdub a meditative creation like this. I would think Brian Eno’s ambient soundscapes would work a lot better.) The visuals are somber and arresting, the photography stunning. This film creates a mood that is palpable and arresting.
. Lovers of the seminal band may be disappointed, as it’s not really a music-doc, but a more of a tour through the mind of an interesting thinker, and the world that made him think that way. But any way you look at it, ABOUT A SON is an exceptional visual feast. Let Kurt Cobain’s words speak for themselves. Watch this sublime film for the pure thrill of stunningly composed and flawlessly edited images that tell a story much greater than the sum of its parts.
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