A skillful storyteller is one unafraid to follow the tale to its logical conclusion. By that standard, Nick Broomfield must be a pretty darn good one because his film "Kurt and Courtney" doggedly follows its story to the very unexpected end.
Though it appears to be, on the surface, an investigation into the death of late musician Kurt Cobain (of Nirvana fame), the film eventually becomes a deeper, more thoughtful look at freedom-of-speech issues - which are definitely told from from Broomfield's point of view.What separates it from less successful documentaries is his stream-of-consciousness style, which may look haphazard and shoddy but which is much more skillful than that. He actually lets his interview subjects dictate the questions and tone of the interviews, and through that, the big picture becomes more clear.
Ironically enough, the film starts out firmly in Love's corner, as the writer/director lets the "Courtney-Love-killed-him" conspiracy theorists (including Love's own father) damn themselves with their own words.
He also attempts to paint a picture of Cobain as a troubled spirit, as seen through the eyes of some of his longtime friends, a former sweetheart and his Aunt Mary.
But as things progress, the film-within-a-film element becomes increasing more prominent, as Broomfield shows us some ill-fated attempts to interview the late star's wife and his frustrations at funding and legal problems apparently caused by Love or her attorneys.
Admittedly, there's no real attempt here to interview any of Cobain's former bandmates in Nirvana. But we saw plenty of those on MTV following Cobain's death. And though it is troubling that no one is around to defend Love in the movie, that's her own fault as much as it is Broomfield's.
"Kurt and Courtney" is not rated but would probably receive an R for profanities, nude photos and artwork, vulgar references, violence and brief glimpses of gory photos.