Director: Nickolas Rossi
This beautifully compiled montage of landscapes, portraits, new interviews and archive footage is a tribute to the late Elliott Smith – a celebration of, rather than an investigation into, his life and times in Dallas, Portland, New York and Los Angeles.
The focus is far more on his development as an exceptional musical artist than on his decline as a person. Drug abuse figured relatively late in Smith’s career, but when it did it took him to the brink of despair. He pulled back a couple of times, only to die in October 2003 from stab wounds to the chest – suspected to be self-inflicted, but left open to doubt by the coroner’s report.
Nickolas Rossi’s film doesn’t probe beyond this speculation but simply charts Elliott’s long, slow rise to recognition – peaking at the 1998 Oscars ceremony with a white-suited performance of “Miss Misery”, which had closed Gus Van Sant’s “Good Will Hunting” – and subsequent capitulation to his demons.
This movie has plenty for the fans in the way of music, images and opinions they will probably not have heard or seen before, along with heartfelt remembrances from family, friends and fellow musicians.
Rossi funded this through a Kickstarter campaign he launched in 2011, clearly aiming for the tenth anniversary of Smith’s death. He missed that by a year, but the tribute concerts which took place around the world at that time feature briefly and touchingly near the end of the movie, with clips showing those who knew and loved Elliott singing his 2000 song “Happiness”, cut into Smith’s own version.
His music is among the finest of its kind and lives on to be discovered by future generations with, I believe, growing reverence. This film celebrates that rather than wallowing in the death cult. As one contributor says: “Elliott is one of the few artists of whom I would say, ‘Just buy everything he ever did – it’s all great’.”
Might appeal to people who enjoyed:
“Montage Of Heck”