Last Days - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Last Days Reviews

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½ May 30, 2017
Gus van Sant's Last Days is an altogether-too-human glimpse into the final pain and struggle of a young man, following him incessantly over the span of a couple of days.
The film's Rosetta Stone is its own slow pace, allowing a viewer adequate space to observe the more subtle on-screen details (the medical wristband still worn by the suffering protagonist, Blake; almost discarded dialogue to which Blake barely responds; the aimless wardrobe changes), along with the non-linear chronology of the scenes. In several instances, a silent scene is cut short to invite another character's point of view onscreen, only to be revisited from another angle, or a seemingly insignificant development is placed under scrutiny by being "book-ended" between two indirectly related scenes.
This is not a film which meanders without reason, contrary to what transpires on its surface. Observing (even experiencing) the excruciating degeneration of a lonely, black-hearted blonde boy unfold from the impenetrable distance from beyond the screen, the conscientious viewer is either revolted by the complex monotony of the film's trajectory, or oppressed by the insights deflected ny the characters' sealed (even selfish?) motives. It is, for either of these reasons, an exceptionally difficult film to watch, but it does reward the dedicated viewer by providing a sense of mood (even, at points, a gallery of dark, sublime and subtle, humour) within the viewer's own experience.
"Last Days" neither judges nor reveals its secrets by means of conventional movie tropes. It remains poignant, if not profound, and deserves to be seen by anyone who looks to absorb some modicum of the despair encapsulated by substance abuse and severe depression.
In a sense, it is through witnessing events through the passive, objective, unblinking eye of the camera that brings a sense of comprehension - although, the deeper personal questions remain enigmatic. But then, that's how things go in life, isn't it?
Super Reviewer
July 18, 2016
If Van Sant's intention was to depict Kurt Cobain's last days as tedious and devoid of meaning as possible, he surely achieved what he wanted, but his biggest presumption was to believe that the viewers would fall for this insufferably boring, self-indulgent joke.
½ May 29, 2016
The main character in this film is clearly meant to be Kurt Cobain, he looks exactly like him and wears all of the same clothes and he's in a band and depressed. I just don't know why Van Sant would want to make a work of fiction giving us an alternative ending to Cobains life. Perhaps that is what we have to figure out. The film is generally pretty boring and the title sort of gives away the ending.
October 7, 2015
complete waste of time
August 13, 2015
Minimalistic cinema or experimental cinema is always a tricky thing and here it's unwatchable.
½ July 3, 2015
It was almost obligatory for anybody who considered themselves a Nirvana fan, but it ended up being very disappointing. It is after all a bit of a scam, as other than a slight resemblance in physical appearance it had nothing to do with Kurt Cobain or his last days. His fans were suckered into watching what is a really boring and empty film. (First and only full viewing - In my early twenties)
½ June 3, 2015
Disappointing. While I love some of Van Sants other work this portrays Cobain as a mumbling idiot, while I'm not saying he was perfect he was certainly more than that. Listening to his insightful eloquent interviews in About A Son could not be further removed from this complete mess. This was purely a case of Van Sant wanting to make his kind of film regardless of who Cobain actually was. Yes it may provide some kind of insight into his final days.... But not much given the none dialogue, it fails at every and any level to show that Kurt Cobain was a talented musician and voice of a generation. Epic fail!!!!
May 30, 2015
Don't believe those who missed the point. (Though, of course there is no point.) This is a superb tragicomedy, in fact faultless. While Van Sant is notoriously hit and miss; along with his central protagonist he scores a direct hit here.
½ May 8, 2015
I love nirvana. I hated this movie.
½ March 27, 2015
boring! just keep on pressing fast forward so i can see the end of the film....
½ March 23, 2015
Minimalist take on the "Last Days" of Kurt Cobain's life. Kind of a yawner.
March 15, 2015
Michael Pitt is no doubt a wonderful actor and Gus Van Sant has his unique way of directing his works. Last Days tried to tell a bit of story of Kurt Cobain' s.... well last days. Perhaps we should just leave it as it was.
½ March 1, 2015
Finally got around to watching this. This is definitely NOT one of my favorite movies. However, I like the sentiment behind it. We become accustomed to surface level jargon in the hopes that whomever we are talking to and why we are talking to them can somehow benefit us. This movie definitely elaborates on that to the point where the characters in the movie are dependent on an artist who has isolated himself from the fame. Those staying in his house are surface level "friends" who only come to him when they want help with a song or money and he avoids them. Those friends don't know that something very dark is consuming him and don't care enough about him to ask. It's pretty obvious this is a parallel to the last days of Kurt Cobain. If anything, this movie reminded me that it's important to listen and be genuine with people first and then they'll be more inclined to stick their neck out for you because you actually mean something to them and vice versa.
February 22, 2015
Obviously "inspired" (hate to use that word) by Cobain's death although it is fictional, this is a truly gripping tale. Was left in tears.
January 29, 2015
Some people say it is not true to Kurt Cobain's last days but it is not meant to be a documentary on his death! This is a film telling the story of a ressemblant story but not exactly the same! The names of the characters are even different.

This film is very good, I like the music tunes in them and I advise anyone to watch it especially if you like Nirvana.
Don't expect a reconstitution to the last detail of Kurt's death of course but still, bloody good film.
Yeah, and then you can also listen to Pagoda. Good music. They're the band that represents Nirvana in the film and the actors actually made an album together.

December 17, 2014
the film was completely visual as the lead actors internal struggles were expressed purely through the environment and cinematography... I enjoyed it immensely
½ December 9, 2014
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 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.
½ December 5, 2014
Van Sant captures the sad meaninglessness and banality of fame but forgot to make a film about it.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
May 30, 2014
I'd imagine plenty of nerds would say that this isn't the only time the story behind Kurt Cobain's death has been fabricated, and quite frankly, I don't really care enough to add to that, and I don't think that this film helped, and it's supposed to make you think or something. The title to "Elephant" was too abstract for folks to get its relevance... which pertained to a drawing of an elephant on one of the shooter's room (Ah, so you did ignore the elephant in the room), and we never found out if the guys in "Gerry" were really named Gerry, but don't worry, because Gus Van Sant has finally decided to give up on subtlety and just call this film about a guy living out his last days "Last Days". It's a fitting end for the ironically also lazily titled "Death Trilogy"... unless, of course, you feel that the "Death Trilogy" is defined by its style, in which case, wouldn't "Paranoid Park" be part of a "Death Tetralogy"? This series is about as convoluted as it is oversimplified, because if it's not defined by its stupid abstractionist style, then it's still a tetralogy, because the remake of "Psycho" was also a story about death that was loosely inspired by notorious true events. No, I wouldn't even shame Gus Van Sant's "Psycho" by bunching it in with these films, and I would hope that the majority would agree with me, even if they didn't like Van Sant's "Psycho", but alas, people can get way too celebratory of "art" that actually doesn't do anything outside something different, as Kurt Cobain taught me. I guess that an abstract art film, even one that actively changes its focus' name and certain events surrounding its focus, is the proper way to interpret the story of Cobain's death, except where Cobain just made a bunch of noise, this film is too quiet for its own good. Yeah, forget Nirvana, and forget this film, although I must admit that Nirvana had their occasions, not unlike this film.

A typically ethereally quiet drama, this film underplays its soundtrack, which, upon being played upon, delivers on some dynamic, yet consistently decent (Well, Michael Pitt's "The Day" is some nonsense) tunes and compositions that, on top of being aesthetically engaging, help in defining to tone of this very independent and abstractionist drama. Visual style is also a commendable, more recurrent aristic touch, for although Harris Savides' cinematography, while not quite as distinguished as it was in something like "Elephant", often gets to be flat with coloration and lighting, when it really shines on through, it all but immerses by celebrating distinguished environments and imagery. Just as it has throughout the "Death Trilogy", when style works in the context of substance, it's because of Gus Van Sant's directorial thoughtfulness, which is generally seriously detrimental to the cold final product, but with genuinely effective occasions that are near-hypnotic in their drawing on the heart of this minimalist drama. A loose interpretation of Kurt Cobain's falling into mental instability and eventually to death supposedly by his own hand, this film's subject matter is executed in a manner so thinned down that the final product borders on plotless, but there is a narrative, at least on paper, it's intriguing, with thematic and dramatic value as an intimate human portrait. What most endears you to the human depths of this film more than the storytelling is, of course, the acting, at least that of leading man Michael Pitt, whose performance isn't written too much less thinly than those of Pitt's peers, but is more challenging, crafting a role of a mentally unstable celebrity brought to a breaking point by pressure and addiction that Pitt sells every step of the way by nailing an awkward intensity, punctuated by some powerful, subtle dramatic notes that define the dramatic highlights of this generally flat opus. If the film aims to be subtle, I would at least hope that it would be as inspired as Pitt's performance, and yet, that's not to say that the final product is as unnerving as its predecessors, being a sloppy affair whose highlights shine brightly enough for the final product to all but achieve decency. Still, in the end, this is yet more misguided artistic ambition from Van Sant, and it viciously betrays worthy subject matter whose well is still admittedly limited by its own right.

As I said, this film's story concept is pretty interesting, but it's not as though it's substantially less minimalist than its naturalist interpretation, being set within a relatively brief time frame and a relatively light scale as a character study whose conceptually minimalism doesn't even leave all that much room for exposition. Well, perhaps the film shouldn't be quite as underdeveloped as it ultimately is, for Gus Van Sant, as screenwriter, follows the tradition for the supposedly humanly intimate "Death Trilogy" of abandoning immediate character development and making the drama's expository value all the more frustrating by paying very, very little attention to gradual characterization within all of the aimless meditations. Really, this film's storytelling doesn't pay much attention to anything of substance, because as if the subject matter itself isn't thin enough, there's hardly any narrative focus to storytelling that ultimately places style over substance. I guess I'd be a little more willing to accept this overstylization if the style wasn't questionable enough to begin with, thriving on ethereal meditations on thematic meanderings, if not pure nothingness, until the film falls flat thematically and dramatically. Of course, if Van Sant does settle down the bloated overplay of his artistic license as a storyteller, he still never quite gets past all of the dragging, because even though the film only runs about 96 minutes, considering that substance is so thin, filler goes padded out to the point of an aimlessness which makes it about as difficult for viewers to focus on the direction of this drama as the narrative itself, while stiffening pacing that is ultimately all but brought to a halt by a cripplingly cold atmosphere. As if Van Sant doesn't shake momentum enough as screenwriter, as director, he really slows things down with a thoughtfulness that so very rarely has anything to draw upon with all of its subtlety, which is therefore predominantly nothing more than tediously dry and empty, and when Van Sant does pick up something to his directorial atmosphere, it's typically a sense of pretense. I don't know if the film feels as pretentious as "Gerry" or "Elephant", and that might be what makes the final product relatively superior, but this overblown artistic expression is still pretty demanding of your respect, while doing only so much to earn it, betraying potential, no matter how limited, with a questionably overwrought and tedious style that bores much more than it aesthetically impresses.

Once the days run out, the final product finds itself driven by a fair soundtrack, handsome visual style, and highlights to direction and acting - especially by worthy leading man Michael Pitt - to the brink of decency, ultimately lost in the midst of natural shortcomings to reasonably worthy subject matter which is further thinned out by the developmental emptiness, unfocused storytelling, exhausting overstylization, aimless dragging and tediously cold, if not pretentious atmosphere which render Gus Van Sant's "Last Days" a fittingly misguided and mediocre conclusion to the "Death Trilogy".

2.25/5 - Mediocre
½ March 16, 2014
Some people might call this a film, but in all honesty, staring at a wall would be a better use of your time than watching this. 'Last Days' consists of Pitt dressing up as Kurt Cobain and doing nothing around his house for an hour and 36 minutes. There are plenty of documentaries out there that can tell you Kurt and Nirvana's story well, and are more interesting. Kurt Cobain's journals are available to buy, and those are perfect if you want to really see a first hand account of what Cobain was like. I realize Van Sant wasn't trying to make a film of EXACLY Cobain, but if he was, I could point out plenty of inaccuracies. I guess I see the direction Van Sant was going with this movie, but it's pretty bad. I realize I sound like a narrow minded, Kurt Cobain fan boy writing this, and anytime I see somebody write these kinds of reviews I see them as whiny, stupid hater, but I can assure you that this film is a horrible interpretation of Kurt Cobain, and is anything but true. Many might disagree with me, but this film is BS.
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