Greetings again from the darkness. Suicide or murder? On the surface, Benjamin Statler’s odd structure of blending docudrama and documentary seems to highlight the opinion of Private Investigator Tom Grant that Kurt Cobain’s cause of death (1994) was not the self-inflicted gunshot so quickly accepted by the police, media and fan base. Upon closer analysis, we notice that Mr. Grant’s mission may be less crime-solving and more of a personal vendetta against the Seattle Police Department … blaming their sloppy work for the 68 known copycat suicides.
It’s tough to drum up support for a conspiracy, so the first part of the movie is spent listing Mr. Grant’s credentials and his unbiased approach to the chain of events that occurred after Courtney Love picked his name out of the phone book and hired him to locate Kurt. Max Wallace, an investigative journalist and co-author of “Love and Death”, is provided as a trusted source who believes Grant’s story.
Statler’s film offers up interviews with the real Tom Grant, as well as many other experts and even a former member of the Seattle Police Department who acknowledges that it’s possible mistakes were made in the original case, and perhaps conclusions were reached a bit more quickly than normally due to the intense media scrutiny. Blended with these interviews are plenty of “reenactments” featuring familiar character actor Daniel Roebuck as Grant and Sara Scott as Courtney Love.
Other key players in the story include “Cali”, the in-house nanny, who may or may not have been in the house at the time of Cobain’s death; Kurt’s friend Dylan Carlson, who spends a great deal of time with Grant while also maintaining a secretive line of communication with Love; and Rosemary Carroll, the family attorney and Godmother to Frances Bean.
Mr. Grant’s doubts are mostly based on four things: the abbreviated investigation carried out by the Seattle Police Department, the supposed pending divorce (and pre-nup) between Kurt and Courtney, the undeveloped and unreleased crime scene photos, and the odd behavior of Courtney Love and Dylan Carlson – both admitted heroin addicts. Additionally, to buy into Grant’s theory, we must also subscribe to the notion that Cobain himself was actually a really happy guy who looked forward to the future … in spite of his own heroin addiction. Perhaps it’s best to accept the words of Kurt Cobain – “There’s nothing to say, man. It’s all in the music.”
*Note: the film makes an interesting bookend to the more biographical look at Cobain in this year’s “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck”.