Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 36
  2. Negative: 3 out of 36
  1. A true American tragedy, directed with skill and conviction.
  2. 100
    Last Days is a definitive record of death by gradual drug exhaustion. After the chills and thrills of "Sid & Nancy" and "The Doors," here is a movie that sees how addicts usually die, not with a bang but a whimper. If the dead had it to do again, they might wish that, this time, they'd at least been conscious enough to realize what was happening.
  3. 100
    The brilliant concluding chapter in the death trilogy that inspired Gus Van Sant's artistic rebirth.
  4. One of this year's indisputably great films.
  5. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    90
    A hauntingly beautiful tone poem.
  6. 90
    Despite all of Van Sant's narrative feints and coy protestations, the audience is left with one searing memory after seeing Last Days, and that memory is of Cobain. Was he, as Gordon's character suggests at one point, simply a rock-and-roll cliche? Or was he a visionary genius, as the name of Pitt's character implies?
  7. The poetry of Last Days has a stoned grandeur.
  8. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    88
    In its unstated cynicism, beauty, and self-pity, Last Days fits the myth of Cobain like a torn pair of jeans.
  9. The result is a movie that seems not quite real and yet never false but somehow partakes of both -- rather like the prospect of death.
  10. 83
    It's an experimental film about a sensational event, placing tragedy in the context of the dulling normality of human life and resisting easy interpretation, just as did the inexplicable death of Kurt Cobain.
  11. What Last Days offers is a blank and narrative-free, but pitch-perfect, dreamscape on which to project your own personal ruminations on Kurt, fame, whatever, nevermind. If you have none, you're on your own.
  12. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    80
    An extraordinarily potent brew.
  13. It's definitely NOT a conventional biopic about Kurt Cobain. (Nor, as its title oddly suggests, is it about the demise of writer-director Van Sant.) It's a tone poem, an elliptical, fictionalized meditation about the ill-fated rock 'n' roll superstar.
  14. It's like a walking tour inside the head of a deeply troubled, deeply talented young man, where most of the systems have already shut down.
  15. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    75
    The glacial pacing may put some people off, but it also has a hypnotic quality. And some viewers might find it fascinating to be a voyeur into someone's tortured psyche.
  16. There is a method to its madness, since the madness here is really Cobain's. Last Days mythologizes his suicide as a haunting act of fulfillment: the consummation of a life that had already ceased to be.
  17. The story is pure speculation, Van Sant's fantasy on what may have happened during those final days of self-isolation, but he loads the film with distinctive imagery.
  18. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    70
    Using long takes, largely improvised dialogue and an increasingly out-of-joint time frame, Van Sant chronicles the final hours of fictional but Cobain-like rock star Blake.
  19. 70
    In the end, it feels like a life aestheticized, not examined.
  20. Last Days shouldn't be half as engrossing as it turns out to be.
  21. Mr. Van Sant and his star, Michael Pitt, together with the cinematographer Harris Savides, set out to do a somber, rigorously distanced study of a man drained of all resources, and slowly though inexorably approaching his end. That they have done exactly what they meant to do is notable.
  22. In the leading role Michael Pitt is neither good nor less than good. He simply mopes along druggedly for the film's ninety-seven minutes. Van Sant's inculcation of this non-performance is clearly part of his dogged negativism, his intent to purge his film.
  23. 63
    Van Sant, following "Gerry" and the superb "Elephant," is on the same elliptical quest. His journey is labored but undeniably hypnotic.
  24. Reviewed by: Aaron Hillis
    63
    Van Sant has mastered this kind of driftingly contemplative imagery and his layered soundscapes would make Sonic Youth proud (of course, Kim Gordon makes an appearance), but the introduction of other characters fracture the film's greatest asset, its lonely first-person atmosphere.
  25. Reviewed by: Greg Bellavia
    60
    A victory for ambitious filmmaking if not always a successful attempt at character study.
  26. Reviewed by: Steve O'Hagan
    60
    A beguiling work of some beauty, this is a further move into a world of hypnotic, observational cinema for Gus Van Sant. But in the end, the detached style has the power to alienate as much as to enthral.
  27. 50
    Van Sant's refusal to delve into his subject in anything but an abstract way renders the movie pointless and frustrating -- a lyrical, lovely tone poem, signifying little.
  28. While Last Days succeeds as a nature documentary, Van Sant fails to penetrate human nature. The result is a portrait without a face.
  29. It's unclear if Van Sant intends to inspire guilt; here, as elsewhere, he is exasperatingly abstruse. And in this striving to not say too much, he ends up not saying much of anything at all.
  30. 50
    It's a meticulous nest of interlocking elements, not at all haphazard. But in its unrelieved bleakness and singularity of vision, it supplies very little in the way of conventional movieness.
  31. Reviewed by: Leslie Felperin
    50
    Result is dead-on depiction of the hedonistic rock lifestyle, punctuated by sequences of haunting beauty but also quasi-religious imagery that borders on tacky.
  32. 50
    How can one defend this prolonged mumble of a motion picture? Well, some of the motion has a hypnotizing grace.
  33. Yet music, the one thing that might have given the film some kick, is de-emphasized, with only two songs sneaking into the picture.
  34. A film about a junkie rock musician, played by Michael Pitt at his most narcissistic, doing nothing in particular for the better part of 97 minutes isn't my idea of either a good time or a serious endeavor.
  35. 25
    The bottom line of Last Days seems to be, fame's a bitch. Yes, Gus - now start making movies again that tell stories, please.
  36. In trouble from its first minutes.

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