Monday, March 06, 2006

Last Days

Gus Van Sant's pseudo-biography of Kurt Cobain's last days (hence the title). I loved watching this movie. Van Sant is an interesting director in that he's become more abstract and elusive as his career has grown. (By that I guess I mean his latest movies seem to be less "commercial" than finding forrester and good will hunting-and i like both of those).

"Last Days" marks the third in a kind of trilogy for Van Sant. The three stories aren't related other than the fact that they're all depictions of real events but interpreted and fictionalized by Van Sant.
Last Days has a beautiful haunting quality to it that made the film totally compelling despite it's slow pace and mundane happenings . If you can get past the first twenty minutes of following "Blake" (Van Sant's Cobain) around the pine forests and streams around his home then the film becomes very watchable and interesting. There are some moments of genuine comedy as well when first a Yellow Pages salesman comes to the door and then later a couple of mormon missionaries.

I liked this film for it's ambitious use of sound and images. There's one particular scene where we see and hear a conversation from a moving car. The camera is mounted on the hood and we're looking into the car through the windshield as the passenger (Ricky Jay) tells a story about a magician to the driver (Blake's friend). The scene is beautiful as the inverted reflection of the sky and trees wash repeatedly over the windshield of the moving car during the rather casual conversation.

It's one of several moments in the film in which Van Sant masterfully stretches the medium to create a mood or effect that feels uniquely correct. There are times when his experimenting doesn't work as well but his effort feels genuine and not indulgent so I don't mind.

3 Comments:

Blogger Bryan Summers said...

I totally want to see this. I loved Elephant.

5:19 AM  
Blogger Drew said...

I liked Elephant as well but I don't know if I like Curt Cobain. Is this about him or an equivalent? If so Van Sant, with his last two film, seems to be creating parody without comedy or irony. This might be a new genre.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Jordan said...

I think the movie can be appreciated independent of an appreciation for Kurt Cobain and/or Nirvana. (but i'm not sure - i like nirvana's music so i guess i can't say).

i didn't feel like a fan blinded by admiration or nostalgia while watching it. the film is basically made up of, to steal from your paraphrasing of Sofia Coppola in your Badlands post, "moments that add up to a feeling".

those moments in the film, like Cobain's life, end in suicide so be forewarned. - but it's not a film about suicide (i don't think).
And it has a couple of scenes that i loved in it.
i'm finding that it's easier to talk about scenes than whole movies sometimes. Scenes can be just perfect - perfectly written, acted, directed, lit, staged, shot, paced, and everything just hits you during the movie and you think - "that was a perfect scene - i loved that scene."
but after the film (or collection of scenes if you will) my judgement about the whole work is harder to pin down.

4:15 AM  

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