Last Days


Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 36
  2. Negative: 3 out of 36

Critic Reviews

  1. 100
    The brilliant concluding chapter in the death trilogy that inspired Gus Van Sant's artistic rebirth.
  2. A true American tragedy, directed with skill and conviction.
  3. One of this year's indisputably great films.
  4. 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.
  5. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    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
    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
    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. 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.
  15. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    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. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 70
    In the end, it feels like a life aestheticized, not examined.
  19. 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.
  20. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    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.
  21. 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.
  22. Last Days shouldn't be half as engrossing as it turns out to be.
  23. Reviewed by: Aaron Hillis
    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.
  24. 63
    Van Sant, following "Gerry" and the superb "Elephant," is on the same elliptical quest. His journey is labored but undeniably hypnotic.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 56 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 32
  2. Negative: 19 out of 32
  1. Jun 1, 2016
    This is a sad, but good movie.If your a Nirvana fan, I highly recommend it.

    Watch it online for free:
    This is a sad, but good movie.If your a Nirvana fan, I highly recommend it.

    Watch it online for free:
    Full Review »
  2. Dec 9, 2014
    I do not like how artificial all exchanges, gestures and statements appear in Gus Van Sant films - all actions feel overtly premeditated, asI do not like how artificial all exchanges, gestures and statements appear in Gus Van Sant films - all actions feel overtly premeditated, as if rehearsed 100 times. There is nothing about a character's behavior which denotes normal human meaning. Overall his work comes across as too abstract, lacking in heart and genuine spontaneity. There is no fire - everything is 'too cool'. I observed this first in his terrifying-yet-disappointing and depressing "Elephant", a biopic inspired by the columbine massacre. None of the students acted like they were people - they acted like people acting like people. Given the huge cast and wide array of characters I'm afraid the blame for this falls squarely on Gus's shoulders. Perhaps he simply shouldn't be choosing his scripts. Good Will Hunting was a fantastic film that did not lack for heart. Why then, in the years proceeding from this, does he choose these sombre, ambient films with little or no humanity in them?
    Each character is a sterile puppet, a purely symbolic entity that we cannot see into or interpret thought from. They're like place mat cards, a coffee-coaster, representative version of people. It feels like he's given them a set of rote tasks to perform, and in having to remember them, they have little time to emote. The only sense of emotion in this film is a sense of laconic depressiveness - much like The Virgin Suicides, Elephant, etc. Is this the only trick this one pony can do? Having seen Good Will, I don't think so, but Gus is quite happy retreading the same ground, hoping for recognition, without realizing that a failing approach is a potentially flawed approach. If there were some sense of progress, contrast in mood or form, there would be some sense of this being a film. Instead we get a film trying to be reality. As depressing as that is, as depressing as reality is, it's not a worthwhile approach. Because film never represents reality as well as reality does.

    His films certainly Look pretty, but they leave you with no conclusion, no easy resolution, no lesson, and a deep feeling of emptiness. What, then, is their point? To make people feel worse? Sorry Gus, you've lost me. As for the biopic content of this film, I have no deep feelings either way. It's possible it would've had more impact if it'd been actually based on Kurt's life, but without that it's left feeling a little bit fragile.
    Occasionally Gus will just focus on some bit of scenery and force the viewer to just Calm Down and just watch something peaceful for a while, which comes across a little bit patronizing. I can watch scenery all the time - I don't need to be instructed. Overall the film comes off as a whim, and an expensive one. It's irritating and intense and stupid. But at least the ending is tastefully and well done.
    Full Review »
  3. AlexD
    Aug 7, 2009
    This must be the movie that drove Kurt Cobain to suicide.