20,000 Days on Earth

"Excellent"

20,000 Days on Earth Review


Far from the standard biographical documentary, this is a strikingly artistic exploration of the life of musician, actor and writer Nick Cave, assembled with the rhythms and energies of his work. It's such an inventive approach to filmmaking that it's both gripping and surprisingly moving, shot with a lush visual style that weaves in Cave's distinctive, provocative music and earthy humour.

The film follows Cave over the course of one day, which he has calculated is his 20,000th. Born in rural Australia, Cave is now 56, and lives in Brighton, England, with his wife Susie Bick and their cheeky twin sons Arthur and Earl. Over the course of this day, Cave reminisces about his life as he goes through his usual routine: writing his next script, working with his songwriting partner Warren Ellis and watching TV with his boys. On this day, he also visits the recording studio, talks about issues from his childhood with noted psychoanalyst Darian Leader, trawls through his archive and offers lifts to friends and collaborators like Kylie Minogue, Ray Winstone and Blixa Bargeld. 

There are moments when we can feel Cave and filmmakers Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard straining to find a clever way of inserting the usual documentary elements, so the film sometimes feels a bit belaboured. For example, Cave's archive is a cluttered basement full of old documents, photos and videos that are projected on to the walls as archival clips. This may be contrived, but it's also bracingly original, as is turning the usual to-camera interviews into revelatory conversations with the man himself. And the songs are performed in jam sessions, practice rooms and beautifully shot stage pieces. For his part, Cave goes through this odyssey with deadpan wit and refreshing transparency, opening up about his personal life, creative processes and the tricky balance between fame and artistic integrity.

This is a fascinating portrait of an uncompromising artist whose music often seems abrasive and angry, delving deep in to emotional territory. Cave's fans will love every moment of this film, and those unfamiliar with his work with find it irresistible, especially as Cave's open-handed approach makes the movie itself an exploration of where real meaning is found in everyday life, including pointed comments about his work, relationships and political views. By exploring Cave's creative processes in such an imaginative way, the film often discovers flashes of sublime insight. And it reaches a striking climax in a sequence that intercuts between Cave's musical career and a transcendent performance at the Sydney Opera House.



20,000 Days on Earth

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 97 mins

In Theaters: Tuesday 18th November 2014

Box Office USA: $0.3M

Distributed by: Drafthouse Films

Production compaines: Corniche Pictures, BFI, Film4

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Fresh: 65 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Iain Forsyth, Jane Pollard

Producer: Dan Bowen, James Wilson

Starring: Blixa Bargeld as Himself, Susie Bick as Herself, Arthur Cave as Himself, Earl Cave as Himself, Warren Ellis as Himself, Kirk Lake as Archivist, Darian Leader as Himself, as Herself, as Himself

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.