User Score
5.4

Mixed or average reviews- based on 53 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 53
  2. Negative: 21 out of 53

Review this movie

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. AlexD
    Aug 7, 2009
    0
    This must be the movie that drove Kurt Cobain to suicide.
  2. ChrisK.
    Aug 6, 2005
    0
    Really bad, very dissapointing.
  3. Tim
    Sep 9, 2005
    0
    Not a single redeeming feature. Oh wait, there's one - it ended.
  4. Vandaar
    Sep 12, 2005
    0
    Such a disappointing movie. Trite.
  5. danielj.
    Nov 15, 2005
    2
    A lot of visual beauty and the effect of spying on someone whose brain has gone to mush is kind of captivating for about the first hour. The problem with this movie is that Van Sant's method (I learned from watching the bonus section) is to create 'atmospheres' and then to let his actors improvise within those environments. But the actors come off in the bonus footage like A lot of visual beauty and the effect of spying on someone whose brain has gone to mush is kind of captivating for about the first hour. The problem with this movie is that Van Sant's method (I learned from watching the bonus section) is to create 'atmospheres' and then to let his actors improvise within those environments. But the actors come off in the bonus footage like idiots. Not just stoners, but truly shallow in the case of Lukas Haas whose story in the film about having sex with a hot asian girl with an amazing body while on tour with his band and then brushing her off and writing a song about it was true. He also talks about his first 'gay sex scene' and how he asked the director to put in some hetero stuff with his character 'to make the sexuality more ambiguous', which just comes off like frat guy-quality homophobia. So the problem with this film is that if you get a bunch of shallow pretty boy actors and let them supply the content of the film, you get shallow content. The other problem is that at first Michael Pitt is embodying Kurt Cobain, but as soon as the movie introduces him as "Blake", the effect goes away and you feel like you're just watching more of a cliche than a character. It reduces Cobain to a type, rather than an individual and I think stories about junkie rock stars are pretty played out. The format and aesthetic of this movie ask a lot of your time and concentration, and I feel that the director here, as in Elephant, isn't supplying the audience with enough in the way of content to make it worth it. Expand
  6. ImstonedM.
    Nov 21, 2005
    3
    Cheech & Chong doing Shakespeare meets the Brady Bunch who then forget about meeting Cheech & Chong.
  7. GavinH.
    Nov 23, 2005
    1
    Wow, I can't think of a worse movie, and I am a huge Cobain fan. The movie does nothing but show Kurt as a mute, incoherent right handed guitar player (he was a lefty!). I was so disappointed I had to immediatly watch "Almost Famous" to get the sour taste out of my mouth.
  8. Jenny
    Nov 27, 2005
    0
    This movie was absolutely ridiculous! i am a fan of Cobain and i think that this was the most disrespectful and useless films i've seen. i regret watching. i want to put in his cd immediately in order to get that horrible portrayal out of my head. shame.
  9. DaveS.
    Nov 27, 2005
    0
    The film equivalent of an uncomfortable silence. Was this even a movie?
  10. JohnN.
    Nov 30, 2005
    0
    Oh my God! I am still wondering why someone could produce this terrible mixed up story. I think you have to be on drugs to understand this movie. Not Good at ALL!!!!!
  11. Missy
    Dec 15, 2005
    1
    This film is horrible. I was a huge Nirvana fan in 90's. I have all of Kurt's records, read all of the biographies and saw the interviews. This film has nothing to do with Kurt. It is a very slow, boring, artsy film. Barely no dialogue and zero plot. After an hour of excruciating pain, I had to turn it off.
  12. CaseyL.
    Dec 23, 2005
    3
    I would have to say that this film missed its purpose completely. Yes, it shows that Blake's last days were filled with people wanting stuff from him, and he was constantly up on drugs, and what a lonely way the famed Nirvana frontman died. However, if this was to be a tribute, the movie would have had to make me feel close to "Blake", who, in the end, I didn't care about at I would have to say that this film missed its purpose completely. Yes, it shows that Blake's last days were filled with people wanting stuff from him, and he was constantly up on drugs, and what a lonely way the famed Nirvana frontman died. However, if this was to be a tribute, the movie would have had to make me feel close to "Blake", who, in the end, I didn't care about at all. Micheal Bay is charged with having too many short shots in his films. Well, this film was filled with stupid shots that if cut by 20 seconds would still be too long. I'm sad that a film about a man I am a fan of made me feel more distant than close to understanding his last days. Expand
  13. RobertK
    Dec 28, 2005
    1
    I felt like I was in detention. I don't know how the New York Times could justify calling this an "indesputably great film." It was so boring, and so slow that critics were afraid to bash it for fear of being seen as shallow or stupid. And seriously, even his soul was slow. That's just stupid.
  14. AustinW.
    Jan 23, 2006
    3
    i usually love slow movies, but this movie makes 'dead man' look like 'moulin rouge'. Casey L was right on - many of the shots are WAY too long. even on fast forward. that said, it definitely evoked the lonley fog of drug addled misery.
  15. GavinM.
    Apr 3, 2006
    0
    i seriously can't believe that so many critics rated this film so highly. i thought it was one of the most boring things i've ever seen and can't think of one single redeemable feature. if it says anything, it's that being a drug addict on the verge of suicide is dull as dishwater. there, now you know - don't waste your time watching it.
  16. ErikL.
    Aug 20, 2006
    2
    This film is way too loosely constructed and it is pretentious to overlook the fact that it does little to captivate the audience. Michael Pitt's performance mostly consists in grunts and moans and is nothing to be proud of. The religious references throughout are puzzling and it feels like Van Sant is trying to make the average viewer see this as a film about a rockstar evading This film is way too loosely constructed and it is pretentious to overlook the fact that it does little to captivate the audience. Michael Pitt's performance mostly consists in grunts and moans and is nothing to be proud of. The religious references throughout are puzzling and it feels like Van Sant is trying to make the average viewer see this as a film about a rockstar evading salvation until his untimely death. Formally speaking, this is not a movie about Cobain, and should not be seen as such. It is a fictional account of the life of an artist similar to Cobain, and as such is not biographically accurate. From the formalist perspective we also have no evidence that he is a junkie. These external interpretations detract from the essential lack of any true cohesion, since the entire film could be summed up in seven minutes. It is another silly attempt by Van Sant to create a film about an event without researching the event; in the nineties his work was excellent but lately he has been trying way too hard to appeal to the sycophantic art critic who actually does not have much of an aesthetic sense. The only redeeming features are Harmony Korine's chat about D&D with Jerry Garcia and when Blake (not Kurt) falls off the stretcher. I can understand people feeling a certain need to praise a film about Nirvana but this isn't what Van Sant set out to do. It is a loosely-constructed showcase of cinematography accompanied Moore and Westerkamp's excellent soundscape, but the plot itself is weak and boring. There are better things to do than to waste 97 minutes on this film. Expand
  17. BrockF.
    Nov 28, 2006
    0
    Terrible. Perhaps the worst movie I've ever seen, and I've seen "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation."
  18. AndrewG
    Dec 23, 2006
    2
    It's always funny to me that meandering crap like this is praised as genius. Watch the "making of" feature on the dvd. They literally just made crap up as they went along. It may be "incredibly liberating" for the actors involved, but it makes for an unbearably tedious and painfully boring viewing experience. Gus Van Sant is horribly overrated.
  19. Dec 9, 2014
    3
    I 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 observedI 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.
    Expand
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. Reviewed by: Greg Bellavia
    60
    A victory for ambitious filmmaking if not always a successful attempt at character study.
  2. Yet music, the one thing that might have given the film some kick, is de-emphasized, with only two songs sneaking into the picture.
  3. 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.