20,000 days on Earth; a review.


nick-cave-tom-oldham

Nick Cave is a very special musician.  In fact musician may be the wrong descriptor.

He’s a very special writer that specialises in music.  He has Warren Ellis and his many collaborators to dial up the music side of the equation.

in this documentary, that looks like a movie, that, yes, he co-wrote, you find yourself immersed in the mind of a genius for an hour and  a half as he discusses his life, his loves, his inspirations and his deep internal psychology in something approaching forensic detail.

He is a very beautiful man.

He talks painfully honestly at times about everything that is true to him.  His ‘muse’ – his wife Susie who lies, back turned to camera in bed with him as the film opens.

We see half glimpses, stolen moments of her off and on through the film but little more.

We see a  photo of her projected on the wall of his archivist’s office.

She is as beautiful as he is.

Later, we see Cave guzzle pizza with their twin sons, arm around the shoulder of one of them, devoid of comment/emotion, almost voyeuristically.  It also spells L.O.V.E.

We see him kiss Warren Ellis full square on the lips as he visits his musical ‘muse’ on the occasion of a casual lunch of eels in black pasta.

More love.

Cave carries an aura of love around with him. Yet he’s often labelled with hate (partly because of the baggage The Birthday Party have burdened him with.)

We see him in the recording studio.

Gold dust. (Watching drummer Thomas Wydler as he twitches and mouths the rhythms is mesmeric.)

We see him crafting lyrics.

Gold dust.  (His notebooks are works of art in their own right.)

We see him performing live.

Now, this is the thing.  Anyone who has been to a Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds gig knows that no band on earth put in the same level of emotional comitment to their music;  (perhaps with the exception of his faux-misogyny project Grinderman) Ellis all crazy violin fury, Cave all emotional connection.

It’s this latter point that made the movie for me.  He talks about how he ensnares individual audience members and then demonstrates it with a live performance of Higgs Boson Blues that reduced his female ‘victim’ to tears.

Me too.  It was all too much.  All too emotionally engrossing.

And then there’s the craft…the soundtrack (obviously) the direction and the cinematography are all sublime.  A special shout has to go for Editor Jonathan Amos.

And the cameos; Kylie, Ray Winstone and Blixa Bargeld.

I’m left with a tantalising question. Is this the greatest film ever made about music?  I think it has claims on that.  Notwithstanding School of Rock.

Nick Cave.  {I love you man.)

One thought on “20,000 days on Earth; a review.

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