Wednesday, January 11, 2006

2005 Out Through the In Door : Last Days? whatever...

Say what you want about Gus Van Sant's Last Days. Say it's a slow movie. Say it's a weird movie. Say it's even a boring movie. And you know what I say? I say it's not really a movie. No, it's not a movie - but more like a muse that bumped its head into a camera. I say it's Van Sant's pure memory translation of Kurt Cobain, all dazed and troubled. With nothing but a mumbling actor and a few unorganized scenes, we get a bright focus on, basically, nothing. Or do we?

Don't get fooled by the appealing statement on the DVD pack: "Rock-n-Roll will never die". It might sound like your usual sex-drugs-rock'n'roll movie schtick, but it's not. If you worship the rebellious Nirvana and adore Kurt Cobain for the noisy little rocker that he was, you'll be very disappointed. However, if you, like myself, think that the best Nirvana moments were the silent passages between the songs during their Unplugged, showing the troubled and confused face of one, lonely and disturbed person - you might actually enjoy watching Last Days.

Last Days is one from the heart, and shoots right to it. Van Sant was not concerned about building a story-line, and he didn't care much for lack of words on the film. Actually, Last Days is more like a glorious statue - static and extremely symbolic. Dealing with Blake - a goofy, stoned rock-star (Michael Pitt, who's also in The Dreamers and wears a true resemblance to Cobain) , we follow his last days at and around his old mention-house out in the woods, with a few exploiting friends, a worried mother (Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth) and nothing besides it. During these days he barely says one word, only mumbles to himself and running around the wood and house doing absolutely pointless things: eating, drinking, wearing a dress, playing with a shotgun... to name a few. We even get a little religious reference, when two young Christians are invited into the house and stating that in order to find a true reilef, one must sacrifice or be sacrified. At the end, Blake shoots himself in the head. Quite simple and much predictable, just like the angelic scene of his soul leaving his body at the bitter end.

Van Sant, once again, has done a beautiful work in translating the bitterness and emptiness of the Cobain legacy into one, simple film, and just like his work on the emotionally unstable "My Own Private Idaho" back in the early 90s, he has created a sad, visual document of a lost and miserable human being.

Do you remember when Weird Al Yancovic had his "Smells Like Nirvana" hit, and one of the main jokes was about Cobain's misunderstood words and meanings in the song? Well, one of the scenes in Last Days shows Blake sitting down, holding a guitar, barley playing it, and singing. He doesn't use full sentences and words, only syllables and half-pronunciations, yet this "song" he creates is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard in my life, and the emotions that this broken young man is spreading around in this specific scene are countless.

If you want action and interesting tidbits, watch the documentary film Kurt and Courtney. If you want some food for the mind and memory, you got it on Last Days. So, is it really based on rotting nothingness? Yes, no, oh well, whatever. Nevermind.

Click here to watch the movie trailer for Last Days!


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