For those unfamiliar with Kurt Cobain or the '90s band Nirvana, "Last Days" will probably not have a lasting impression.
Not much happens in the film directed by Gus Van Sant. The storyline lacks plot, in depth dialogue, and the experimental filming style is distracting rather than edgy.
Although a disclaimer at the end of the movie states that the characters are fictional and only inspired by Kurt Cobain's rocky descent, Blake (Michael Pitt), a dead ringer for the musician, unmistakingly resembles the Kurt Cobain of Nirvana. His clothing, subtle references to his daughter, and an angry phone call from a woman who could be Courtney Love, parallel the life of the grunge rocker.
The movie chronicles Cobain's last days just before his suicide - and not much else. While a few minor plot points come into play, such as a private investigator who attempts to track down the Cobain look-alike, and a brief scene with an unnamed woman who hopes to help Blake, neither plot point comes to fruition. At the end of the film, I wanted to know the significance of these exchanges but Van Sant refuses to give the audience more.
The incoherent ramblings of Pitt are a side of Cobain that the public never saw. The man portrayed in "Last Days" paints the picture of a deeply depressed and disturbed individual with issues beyond drug addiction and the wrong crowd of friends.
The aspects that save the film are the haunting use of music to parallel Blake's pain and unraveling, as well as the incorporation of symbols to tell the story of "Last Days." To put it simply, most of the movie is left to interpretation.
If you want answers or hope to attain some insight as to why Cobain snapped, this film does none of that.
"Last Days" will be most powerful for Nirvana fans and for those who still remember hearing the shocking news of the young singer's untimely death. If for you Nirvana means nothing more than a state of bliss, skip this film.
Lauren Sadja Otero is an English major at Stanford University.