East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Monday, October 31, 2005

Last Days: The saddest music in the world [DVD note]

Starring Michael Pitt
Written and directed by Gus Van Sant

This much was never in doubt about Kurt Cobain: he rocked. Rocking is not something Gus Van Sant has ever done; as innovative as he's been, there's always been something Pat Booney about his aesthetics, though his queerness has distracted from this. It takes all off three minutes for Van Sant to get his star down to his waterlogged boxers, their fabric clinging to his oh-so-pert ass, while his bedraggled hair, bone dry, falls oh-so-indiscriminately over his face.

Unlike in The Dreamers, Michael Pitt isn't terrible, but then he's so objectified he doesn't have to project anything. This seems like a chickening-out from the director who actually got a good performance out of Keanu Reeves. Where in a Bresson film objectifying the performer is part of a larger questioning of beliefs and truths, here it's just pornographic in its failure of empathy. Never before has Van Sant revealed so much of his sophomoric centre (as far as I know, I'm not going to watch Finding Forrester to compare)--fascination with uncontextualised suicide is bad enough when it belongs to junior high goths.

To give him his due, the time-hops are neat, but if that's what you like, you might as well as watch Elephant again. Not only was that movie about something (although Last Days would've been better, or at least would've had less baggage, if it was genuinely about nothing), its intended moments of beauty had vigour. The only time that occurs here is when Blake/Kurt watches the video for Boyz II Men's "On Bended Knee" (an anachronism in Kurt's timeline, not that it matters). And even that mostly made me remember of a similar, somewhat funnier scene in The O.C. Lacking any reference to Blake's pain, all I could think was the poor bugger should buy a boat.


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