Saturday, February 16, 2013

LAST DAYS (2005) movie review

Last Days
d. Van Sant, Gus (USA)

Talk about your wildly swinging pendulums. On the one hand, we have the Gus Van Sant that made the edgy My Own Private Idaho and Drugstore Cowboy. On the other, we have the Hollywood conformist of Good Will Hunting and Finding Forrester. (And we won’t even get into that wackjob who remade Psycho.) File this psuedo-docudrama about the imagined final days of Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain under “edgy Van Sant.” You can also file it under "nearly impenetrable," thanks to the stylized mumblings of Michael Pitt in the lead role (I actually flipped on the subtitles at times, just to see what we might have been missing).

There’s no real story here, so the audience is required to bring their own personal knowledge of Cobain’s life and death, because Van Sant doesn’t fill in many blanks. And exposition? Fuggedaboudit. All of the hanger-on characters (which include unglam performances from Asia Argento and Lukas Haas) are pretty unpleasant, and often arose the feeling of being at a party that I couldn’t leave. There’s an electrifying one-man jam session scene, shot in one of the director’s hypnotic long takes, that stuck out as magical. But for the most part, I was waiting for a fateful shotgun blast to put me out of my misery.

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