Gus Van Sant’s “fictional” meditation on the demise of a grunge rocker.
Do not, by any means, go into Gus Van Sant’s “fictional” meditation on the demise of a grunge rocker expecting a cohesive look at the twilight of departed Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain. You will be disappointed. Perhaps even angry. For Michael Pitt’s goateed musician spends the better part of 90 minutes mumbling incoherently, fixing meals and placing an absurd phone book ad, while Van Sant’s camera roams even more langorously than it did in Elephant or Gerry. Rock myth, it is not. But perpetuating voice-of-a-generation bullshit is not on Van Sant’s agenda. Wandering in a narcoleptic stupor, Pitt’s junkie rock star is as much lost soul as tortured genius, and Van Sant refrains from tacky pop theorising or tired rock-crit veneration. As pure cinema, it’s sublime: an elegiac poem to an insular, misunderstood figure, framed in deliberately detached long takes and set to a hypnotic soundscape. Like Cobain himself, Last Days is aloof and contradictory; it lingers and obfuscates. For corrupt explanations, seek out Nick Broomfield’s self-serving crock-umentary Kurt & Courtney; for a rare film that will haunt you, however, look no further.