Kurt & Courtney—Nick Broomfield's documentary about the troubled relationship between Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain and his wife, Hole singer Courtney Love—sparked a great deal of controversy when Love tried to squelch its release. Watching the film, it's easy to see what made Love uneasy: Kurt & Courtney is a glimpse at the Kurt Cobain conspiracy circle that promotes a half-hearted theory tying Love to the death of her husband. Broomfield is good at getting his sleazy subjects to speak, but he's not terribly adept at eliciting the truth. After parading out a cadre of creeps, drug addicts, and psychopaths who attest to Love's culpability, Broomfield pulls an about-face and spends the latter half of the film refuting their obviously ludicrous and unfounded claims. Broomfield wastes a good deal of time with this "he said/she said" stuff, trying to get to the bottom of the "he did/she did" conundrum, but he would have been better off just forgetting Cobain and concentrating his efforts on the far more colorful and cryptic Courtney Love. It's only when he gets a good bead on his living subject that the film strikes gold; there's a priceless scene in which Broomfield publicly confronts Love at an ACLU function regarding her efforts to curtail free speech. But after such a long build-up of Love as a possible murderer, it's something of a letdown when Broomfield finally pegs her as merely an ambitious hypocrite. Well, gosh, she sure had us fooled. Kurt & Courtney leaves plenty of questions hanging in the air, but even so, there's little doubt that Love is of questionable character. Too bad, then, that Broomfield was so intent on unearthing scandal that he missed the movie that hung right under his nose. Love, in all her contradictory and confrontational glory, is far more compelling than any flimsy conspiracy theory.
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