Kurt & Courtney

Many in the music world – fans and musicians alike – were devastated when the news of Nirvana’s frontman Kurt Corbain’s death came out. It was April 8, 1994 when the body of the 27-year-old (that odd age in the music world) was found in his home in Seattle, Washington. He had probably been dead about three days and there was a head wound, a note along with a shotgun across his body. It was ruled a suicide.

Almost as soon as the ruling came out discussion arose surrounding the musicians death. Many began to believe it was not a suicide and that Courtney had killed Kurt. Documentarians and journalists began to look into how he truly died. Several theories cropped up including the one that his wife was responsible.

In doing so this is pretty much putting the entire Kurt and Courtney relationship under the microscope. How they met, fell in love, got married, and had a daughter. Also the tumultuous parts. And there are plenty!

Diligently Broomfield interviewed as many people who were close to Kurt or involved in the investigation of his death as he could and would talk to him. Courtney refused to speak to him and would not allow him to use any Nirvana music in the film. Broomfield concluded that this was evidence that she does not support free speech and was attempting to suppress the truth.

We start from when Kurt was young and exploring his love of music. His aunt Mari and some friends from his youth are interviewed for this portion. Next up is his meeting and falling in love with Courtney.

The Courtney part is when things start getting strange. Interviews with a woman who claims to know much about Kurt and Courtney’s heroin use. An interview with Tom Grant, a private investigator, who believes she conspired to kill her husband and wants the case reopened in Seattle. Courtney’s father, who has written two books about her, suspects his daughter has an involvement in the death. Finally, the lead singer of The Mentors, a man known as El Duce, claims Courtney offered him $50,000 to kill Kurt. Two days after he was interviewed by Broomfield, he died after being struck by a train.

It is hard to seperate what is true from what is false in this documentary. Especially since it appears that the man behind it all, Broomfield, has an axe to grind with Courtney Love. Does not seem very unbiased. You are left to draw your own conclusions. But it certainly is an interesting 94 minute watch.

The film is pretty much a one man show. Released originally in 1998, the documentary was written, narrated and directed by Nick Broomfield (Lily Tomlin, Soldier Girls). It was set to make its debut at the Sundance Festival that year, but due to the fact that Courtney Love threatened to sue, the screening was cancelled. You can now stream the film on Tubi.

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