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Kurt & Courtney (1998)

The disturbing story of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain and his wife Courtney Love.

Directed by:

Nick Broomfield

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 92 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

This is not a music film – it has more to do with Kurt Cobain's death than with his work. Yet it often seems to look less at him and more at his wife, Courtney Love, as several of the interviewees imply (or state outright) their belief that she played some role in his death.

The apparent suicide of Nirvana frontman Cobain shook the rock world. A controversial figure in life, his death too has been a source of controversy with many doubting that it was really suicide. Documentary-maker Nick Broomfield set out to make a film about Cobain's death, with the backing of various media companies, by interviewing a variety of Cobain's associates. However, he starts looking more closely at Love instead when he finds that some of the people he is interviewing have interesting things to say about her, including one who states as fact that she offered him money to kill Cobain. Even her father has his suspicions. Not liking the direction Broomfield's documentary is taking, Love refuses to licence any of Cobain's music for use in the film, and pressurises the film's backers into withdrawing their support.

This is an infamous film that brought its director into direct conflict with Courtney Love. Most of those interviewed seem to have a hidden agenda, to be harbouring a grudge against Love, to barely know Cobain, or a combination of the above. The most important players – the members of Nirvana, Cobain's immediate family, and Courtney Love herself – are not interviewed. This film is unlikely to convince the sceptical. However, it offers fascinating insights into the backgrounds, lives and characters of Cobain and Love, allowing the viewer to see the environments that shaped them.

It's Got: Insight into the characters of Cobain and Love.

It Needs: In-depth interviews with Courtney Love and other important figures.

DVD Extras Much of the extra material deals with the trials and tribulations of getting the film made and shown. Extras: Director’s commentary, Director’s interview, Additional scenes, Stills gallery, The story of the film’s withdrawal from Sundance: Sundance press conference – Robert Redford and Nick Broomfield, Trailers.. DVD Extras Rating: 6/10

Alternatives:

Almost Famous, Sid and Nancy

Summary

A collection of conspiracy theories, the film is most interesting because of the insights it offers into the backgrounds of both Cobain and Love. It goes some small way towards satisfying the morbid curiosity that surrounds Cobain’s death, but never quite provides enough detail or evidence to be convincing.

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