20000 DAYS ON EARTH | MOVIE REVIEW

Kernel Andrew hit this film, 20000 DAYS ON EARTH, up at the Sydney Film Festival this year. He is, afterall, our music dude, and he appears to like Nick Cave. So he bought his tix and attended the opening night film with mass excitement. He was not disappointed in the slightest. Madman Films have picked up the film and it is releasing on August 21st in cinemas. I was going to hold off posting until then but hey, you snooze, you lose, so enjoy Andrew’s review below :). It runs for 97mins and is not officially rated yet (I am guessing an M rating). The movie has a superb website HERE. All the best….JK.

 

20000 DAYS ON EARTH SPECIAL SCREENING POSTER IMAGE
20000 DAYS ON EARTH | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | SPECIAL SCREENING POSTER

 

REVIEW BY ANDREW BRUSENTSEV

An apt movie for the opening night of the Sydney Film Festival. In fact I would go so far as to say that Nick Cave may be Australia’s greatest living artistic treasures. Am I a fa?….well what do you think by that last remark. Over the past 23 years I have seen Nick Cave and the Badseeds, or his side project Grinderman, close to ten times (some of those moments are hazy). So I was more than keen to view this quasi-documentary.

This is a film which is both in one hand a character study of this Australian icon and also a riff on the whole creative musical process. The two first time directors Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard balance these two sides of the film beautifully on a knife edge. They show a man who is surprisingly self-deprecating, fiercely intelligent, brutally honest and absolutely eloquent. He is unashamed to answer brutally honest questions whether it is about his past, his family, his own delusions of grandeur and those Berlin years with the Birthday Party. Which to any music fan are the stuff of legend.

 

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20000 DAYS ON EARTH | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | NICK CAVE DRIVING WITH KYLIE MINOGUE IN THE BACK SEAT

 

This is by no means a traditional music documentary that you may see on pay TV. Instead it follows Nick on a day in his life. A made up day obviously as his day is interspersed with cameos from a star studded line up of fellow band mates, celebrities and other musicians. It takes us from his home in Brighton, to Melbourne (to view photographs from the Nick Cave collection) all the way to the Sydney Opera House where we are finally treated to the Nick the rock icon in an truly incendiary performance on its stage.

There are elements of traditional interview question and answer throughout the proceedings. But it is never done through the obvious. He visits a psychoanalyst and we learn quite a lot of his childhood and his relationship with his parents (especially his father). Mr Cave is disarmingly honest and quite self-reflective. We see a man who is constantly questioning his own position in the world. In fact we find that Cave is happier being a poet and strange esoteric philosopher rather than a fire breathing rock god. Other moments of Q&A see him dropping into his band mate Warren Ellis’s place where they discuss amongst other things their love of Nina Simone and Jerry Lee Lewis.

“My biggest fear is losing my memory,” Cave says to the psychoanalyst, though he later adds that his drug use has already contributed to that. “1987 was a difficult year to remember,” he says. “Eighty-anything is difficult”.

 

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20000 DAYS ON EARTH | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | NICK CAVE WITH THE CREW

 

Forsyth and Pollard infuse the proceedings with an almost dreamlike quality lifting the quasi-documentary above the usual fair. Scenes and locations are pasted together. This is done through the vehicle of Nick’s car and his car trips between locations. Whilst Nick is driving from location to location his journey is shared with Ray Winstone, former Bad Seed Blixa Bargeld and Kylie Minogue.

The directors turn his fierce image of genius rock god on his head in much of these scenes and in scenes like the one where he is eating pizza while watching Scarface with his twin sons. But on the other hand it pays to the transformational process of a performer when it captures a brilliant rendition of his song Jubilee Street at the Opera House.

Praise must be given to Erik Wilson’s cinematography and Jonathan Amos’ editing – both razor-sharp. Joakim Sundstrom’s sound mix is as dynamic as Cave’s fiery music deserves.

This is a truly brilliant documentary.

 

4 and a Half Pops