Monday, 23 January 2006

Marienbad Trip

Eyewear has seen the DVD version of the Gus Van Sant film Last Days and thinks it grand.

As the poster shows (Michael Pitt pictured), this is a thinly-veiled homage to the last, lost week-end of junkie-genius Kurt Cobain's life, before he took the "Hemingway out" with a shotgun.

What could have been deeply annoying and merely arty - a rambling, incoherent, mainly silent non-narrative vision of one man's helpless descent into drug-induced anarchy and then death - instead achieves an aching, utterly beautiful epiphany: we see into the core of creativity, and its broken heart.

Forget acting - the shambling, hazy, slow-footed grunge musicians who seemingly stumble through the cavernous Washington State mansion/ hunting lodge one sunny early summer day - all looking for a way to fix or fix on to Cobain-like "Blake" - become the real thing. The Tarkovsky-dull paint-drying texture, at times cut like Last Year At Marienbad, impacts like a hit. The few key moments are opiate-sweet and twice as dark (and sometimes blackly comedic) - such as Blake's attempt to make Kraft Dinner, or the visiting Mormons.

However, the central moment, when the vacant, seemingly forsaken shell of a musician picks up his guitar, near the end of the film, and begins to compose, and sing, a yelping ballad from hell, the hair rises on the back of one's neck - this is the dark side of the creator - in the midst of near-total loss and despair something beautiful terribly occurs - the canary sings sweetest, in the poisoned mine.

I may be biased, having been a Nirvana fan, and a child of the Grunge era, from the start. But this is a great movie.
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