In this rather unusual documentary, we follow a day, the 20,000th day in the life of UK-based, Australian musician Nick Cave. This day is a construct, one which is representative of Cave’s daily life. We follow him from writing, catch ups with friends, doctors appointments and of course, practice. This was more like a collage or scrapbook than a linear story. Mixed media – audio, photographs, archival footage are blended in with the documentary’s own footage, giving the film an incredibly textured feel.
Cave spends much of the film musing on some of some pretty big ideas – the power of memory, what legacy we leave and what it means to create. It seems like it’s something he spends a long time thinking about, like he is constantly searching for validation or purpose for his art. His thought processes are quite complex, even pained, and once or twice I felt myself getting lost within the depths of his soul. Much like his music, his thoughts are rather intense and brooding at times. Famous friends, bandmates and associates make appearances throughout, though I found that their contribution served mostly to inflate the mystique of Cave, rather than offer any real insight.
Aside from the interesting construct of the film, what I loved was the cinematography and editing. The film was extremely slick and photographed so beautifully by Erik Wilson (The Imposter, The Double, Tyrannosaur), who is fast becoming one of my favourite cinematographers. Jonathon Amos (Attack the Block, Scott Pilgrim vs the World) stitches the various material together expertly, weaving a layered scrapbook to represent Cave’s life.
It makes sense that writer-directors Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard come from a visual arts background. What they have created here is quite innovative, ions away from a traditional musical documentary or bio-pic.
By Sam McCosh
Director: Iain Forsyth, Jane Pollard
Writer(s): Iain Forsyth, Jane Pollard, Nick Cave
Starring: Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Blixa Bargeld, Susie Bick
Runtime: 97 minutes
Release date(s): Australia & New Zealand: August 21 2014