Kurt and Courtney expertly explores dark side of rock and roll

Rattaya Nimibutr

Staff Writer



When the Sundance Film Festival initially dismissed Nick Broomfield's Kurt and Courtney, a documentary about the most disturbing and talented couple in the music scene, from their lineup of independent films, eyebrows were raised and questions were asked about this intellectually composed film that rocker-turned-actress Courtney Love does not want anyone to see.

Love's threat of legal action regarding certain songs used in the film did result in Sundance ejecting Broomfield's (Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam, Fetishes) latest work from competition, but it also brings on a sense of confusion as to exactly why Love has taken actions toward this film as it seeks to discover if Kurt Cobain's apparent suicide was indeed that.

Along with the basic background clips of the early years before fame, Broomfield effectively portrays Cobain's coming of age and his discovery of Love. Broomfield shows Cobain's immediate withdrawal from his family during his teenage years as he sleeps under a bridge and lives with a teacher for a few months.

Through it all, music emerges as his priority. Cobain's aunt even provides some early recordings of a two-year-old Cobain for maximum saccharine effect.

This most sought-after production isn't the typical documentary about the prior and post life of a torn celebrity. Broomfield walks you through the distorted road Cobain traveled, including his resurgence and ultimate demise as a rock idol whose life ended too soon.

What's interesting are a barrage of different, disturbing facts about the circumstances of the tragic night that would lead to the two teenage suicides of fans who had followed Cobain, claiming they "could not live without the rock star."

Broomfield also includes an interview with a beer-drinking ex-punk-rocker by the name of Al Duce, who claimed that Love had offered him a reasonable amount of money to "whack" Cobain. We later find out Duce was killed by a train some time after the interview. More foul play.

Contrary to popular belief, Kurt and Courtney does not paint a picture of Love as the central cause of Cobain's death. Broomfield's interviews with people Cobain once knew and the friends of Love inevitably lead to a wild love story of money, drugs and a blurred truth that contains two sides of everything.

Armed with both onscreen appearances and voice-overs, Broomfield and his cameraman seem like two stalkers out to make a good freak show. The more interviews pop up, the more bizarre and twisted the simple story turns.

Kurt and Courtney has drawn criticism from people who say Broomfield is simply out to pull Love back down to where she started instead of actually appreciating the work Cobain has given the music industry. Broomfield is definitely on the Love-less track with his project, but the ultimate decision is yours regarding the rocker who revolutionized '90s music and was left undiscovered with a gunshot wound to the head for four days.

You don't need to idolize Cobain to want to see what this documentary has to offer. It is fascinating enough to see a lovable, troubled young man writhe away in a game where money and fame should just simply be two English words.

And as for Broomfield? He will probably start up another documentary about some drug-abusive, money-crazed guy who has spent half of his life in rehab. Charlie Sheen, perhaps?

Kurt and Courtney



Not Rated

Running Time

95 min


At Landmark River Oaks

Visit The Daily Cougar