By Owen Gleiberman
Updated March 17, 2020 at 02:42 AM EDT
Michael Pitt, The Last Days

Last Days

  • Movie

In Last Days, the writer-director Gus Van Sant draws us into the illusion that we’re seeing the druggy, blithering, zoned-out final days of a rock star very much like — no, exactly like — Kurt Cobain. The fascination of Cobain’s life and suicide is enduring, and that’s a good thing for the movie, since it’s doubtful that many would otherwise consider sitting through an art experiment as deliberately listless and meandering as Last Days, in which Van Sant presents the total absence of engagement or drama as an aging hipster’s form of defiance. As ”Blake,” Michael Pitt is shot mostly at a distance, his sandy blond long hair falling into his face, so that his thick placid features and strong stubbled chin make him look eerily like Cobain’s double. For long stretches he wanders through the woods, mumbling to himself like a zombie Popeye, or stands around the mostly empty cavernous rooms of his remote, dilapidated house, munching on Cocoa Krispies (he’s so out of it that he puts the cereal box, instead of the milk, into the fridge), scrawling in his diary, and engaging in random blitzed activities like parading around in a black slip as he diddles with a shotgun. Last Days makes Van Sant’s perversely antipsychological Columbine meditation, Elephant, look blandly mainstream, and at times the film wrung my patience dry. Yet 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.

Last Days

  • Movie
  • R
  • 97 minutes
  • Gus Van Sant