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Film Review – Soaked In Bleach

Soaked In Bleach

Plenty of folks see the “Courtney killed Kurt” conspiracy theory as belonging in the same basket as that of the “Fake Moon Landing” and “9/11 Was An Inside Job” tales: they’re great playthings for people who have enough time to also make nifty tin foil hats and cover up the webcams on their laptops so the FBI can’t see them hacking the mainframe or making funny videos of their dogs air-drumming to Slayer songs.

In a year when the tragic tale of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain is being revisited through revered films like Montage Of Heck, it’s fitting that a new documentary re-addressing this theory has also had a brief run through cinemas in the US and is now landing on video here in Australia. Soaked In Bleach has had its detractors – Courtney Love desperately tried to have its release cancelled – but so did Montage Of Heck with Cobain’s close friend Buzz Osborne of the Melvins saying, “It’s really hard to take any of this film seriously”.

Getting a consensus on exactly how and why one of the most famous musicians in the world, then and now, decided to end his life, is never going to happen. As the material continues to pile up, there’s no doubt that Cobain and his wife, Hole’s Courtney Love, were quite terrible humans at the time and their descent into drug-fuelled misery wasn’t fun to observe for anyone involved. It’s a case wrapped in mystery – exactly where and what Cobain was doing in his final days is now the subject of urban myth – and people, of course, hate unanswered questions, something this case shoots out in rapid-fire.

The filmmakers are clear that their aim isn’t to throw Courtney Love alone onto the fire, but instead make a strong push for the case to be reopened. They just want answers, man… Naturally, she’s up in flames within a matter of minutes but the real surprise here is that you’ll struggle to disagree with their mission statement by the time the credits roll.

Marred by some cruddy recreations but lifted by intense interviews with detectives who investigated his death and jaw-dropping real audio from Courtney Love from the time, Soaked In Bleach lends some serious evidence to its cause in a very compelling way. Plus, the never-ending rainy Seattle backdrop makes the whole affair extra ominous.

What initially seems likes an exploitative cash-in piece quickly becomes an engaging documentary and there’s no doubt a lot of care and energy went into crafting it. If you’re a Nirvana fan or just an eager conspiracy nut, Soaked In Bleach dishes up some surprisingly fresh dirt for you to roll around in.

Soaked In Bleach is out now through Shock.


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