Last Days is a fictionalized account of the last days of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. In the film, introspective artist Blake (Michael Pitt) is buckling under the weight of fame, professional obligations and a mounting feeling of isolation.
Dwarfed by towering trees, Blake slowly makes his way through dense woods. He scrambles down an embankment to a fresh spring and undresses for a short swim. The next morning he returns to his house, an elegant, if neglected, stone mansion.
Many people are looking for Blake—his friends, his managers and record label, even a private detective—but he does not want to be found. In the haze of his final hours, Blake will spend most of his time by himself. He avoids the people who are living in his house, who approach him only when they want something, be it money or help with a song.
He hides from one concerned friend and turns away another. He visits politely with a stranger from the Yellow Pages sales department, and he ducks into an underground rock club. He wanders through the woods and later plays a new song, one last rock and roll blowout. Finally, he stumbles into the greenhouse next to his mansion, and is found dead the next morning by a worker. A spectre of the musician, naked, slowly climbs out of his dead body and up the wall.
Now as anyone familiar with Van Sant’s work is sure to tell you, his interest in linear film-making has been waning in recent years, a welcome respite after his two most ‘mainstream’ films (Good Will Hunting and Finding Forrester) failed to live up to the potential of his previous career best, 1991’s My Own Private Idaho. And with Last Days, he’s finally made his masterpiece, a film for which his two prior efforts are likely to be remembered as dry runs and little more.
Director: Gus Van Sant
Year of Release: 2005
Character to watch: Michael Pitt as Blake.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the movie.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?