Singer-songwriter Nick Cave has reached his 20,000th day on earth. On this day, he’ll visit with old friends, reminisce about the past, work on his new album and perform live. And cameras will follow him. Anyone familiar with the music or writing of Nick Cave will know what to expect: meandering, often grim, sometimes darkly comic meditations on weariness, cynicism, fate and, above all, this ridiculous state of being alive. This film is structured like a documentary, but parts of it are clearly scripted and it’s obvious that all of this didn’t even come close to happening on one day. But then the blurred lines between truth and fiction have always been present in Cave’s work. This is an odd film, loose in its rhythms, unapologetically esoteric at times and with serious pretensions to saying something meaningful about life. There are some wonderful scenes here. A lengthy session with a therapist is incredibly entertaining and there’s a repeated motif of Cave driving alone in his car and having a conversation with some person from his past that is both there and not there at the same time. The conversation with Kylie Minogue is particularly witty. And the music is, of course, transcendent. The film has the space and time to just let the songs spread out and take their time. There’s a really wonderful live in the studio performance that just builds and builds to a frenzy of emotion; and the film ends with a cathartic, exuberant live performance. This is a film that I think is going to be a very subjective experience for each person, even more than films usually are. To put it simply, your tolerance for Cave’s philosophical, spiritual ramblings and his odd, off-kilter music just may not be the same as mine. Cave is something of an acquired taste, I think, and some people may just be hardwired to never really get it. If you’re in that camp, you’ll find this movie off-putting, pretentious and annoying, I suppose. But all I can do is rate it from my perspective. I can’t quite think of another movie like this one; it’s arresting, strange and compelling, even if it does meander a bit much even for me. Still, it’s a deeply unique and personal film; it has the courage of its convictions and it doesn’t make a single concession to its audience – get on the film’s wavelength or get the **** out. That makes it essential viewing, if you ask me. Highly recommended. 4 stars.
tl;dr – esoteric, rambling “documentary” about singer-songwriter Nick Cave is transcendent beauty or pretentious BS, depending on you. But it’s worth seeing so you can decide. 4 stars.