07 Nov Review: Nirvana – The Untold Stories (Unauthorized)

FlixFling contributor Rebecca Raymer reviews Nirvana – The Untold Stories (Unauthorized):

Kurt Cobain’s death in 1994 devastated Gen-Xers would-wide. Any one of those devastated Gen-Xers would probably appreciate this opportunity to delve deeper into the mystique of Cobain and his band, Nirvana. Gen-Xers (and any other people) who were not devastated by Cobain’s death would probably find the 2003 documentary, Nirvana – The Untold Stories Unauthorized , kind of boring.

Director Simon Bisset has gathered the crumbs of Nirvana’s inception and presented them rather nicely on film. Overall, Nirvana – The Untold Stories Unauthorized is an adept presentation of the intended topic, but the cuts between segments are very choppy – even startling – at times. Of course, the erratic transitions may be because the film was originally produced for television; keeping that in mind while watching the uninterrupted version, the awkwardness of the editing is forgivable.

Another disappointing-yet-understandable aspect of the film is that it completely lacks any actual music performed by Nirvana. It is an “unauthorized” version of events, and so the rights to any Nirvana music were likely unobtainable by the “unauthorized” filmmaker. However, there are repeated references to the emotion in Cobain’s voice, the intensity of Grohl’s percussion, and the defining power of Novoselic’s bass. These attributes would have been much more effectively relayed to the viewer if the actual sounds of the music could be heard simultaneously.

Mildly interesting and absolutely not riveting, Nirvana – The Untold Stories Unauthorized is a tame piece of Americana, sentimental and soothing to those still mourning the loss of Kurt Cobain and the generation-defining band, Nirvana.

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