Soaked in Bleach is a new docudrama directed by Benjamin Statler. Using audio recordings, interviews and reconstructions the film postulates suspicious events behind Kurt Cobain’s death as seen through the eyes of Tom Grant, the private investigator that was hired by Courtney Love in 1994 to track down her husband who had gone missing.
Full disclosure; I am a fan of Courtney Love and I don’t believe she’s had a fair shake since she and Kurt got together. Many fans and friends didn’t understand their attraction to each other and because Courtney is in every sense a rock star and had the ego to match, her mouth earned her a reputation and fully undeserved hatred. Let’s face it, if Kurt had married just about any other woman on the planet no one would be questioning his death as anything other than suicide and if Courtney had been a man, her attitude and persona would be accepted and even applauded.
Back to the movie!
Tom Grant was hired by Love to find Cobain after he had gone missing after his drug overdose in Rome. According to the people interviewed in the film, Tom Grant was highly respected as a private detective but this isn’t why Love chose him to help her find Cobain, in fact he asserts that it was due to him being the only PI working over the Easter break and thus was the only one to answer his phone.
Perhaps if just one other PI had answered their phone that day Love could have avoided a lot of the drama surrounding Cobain’s death.
Actress Sarah Scott looks and moves eerily like Courtney Love and considering the subject matter of the film, I was expecting a much more pantomime version of Love. That said she is portrayed as scheming and suspicious when in fact her attitude is more like that of a business woman who was frustrated by her husband’s behaviour and wasn’t about to let that behaviour ruin her chances at becoming a rockstar.
Soaked in Bleach presents the ideas that Cobain was not suicidal, he wasn’t depressed either. It suggests that Cobain’s overdose in Rome only started being referred to as a suicide attempt after his death. Love is presented as paranoid that Cobain was having an affair and wanted a divorce. What comes across to me is a total lack of understanding when it comes to both depression and drug addiction. It’s very common for friends and family to be shocked when someone close commits suicide, they say they ‘had no idea that person was depressed’, ‘they always seemed fine when I saw them’. That’s because there is stigma and isolation related to mental health problems, it can be easy to hide from those you care about the most.
As with most of the conspiracy theories concerning the supposed part Love played in her husband’s death, the film poses a lot of questions but has no answers and doesn’t even really attempt to answer any of its questions. I was fully expecting a ‘this is how we think she did it’ but perhaps that’s how they got around making the film in the first place.
Soaked in Bleach covers some of the same ground as Nick Broomfield’s documentary about the husband and wife Kurt & Courtney except Tom Grant makes no bones about his feelings towards Love. And yet while they all point the finger towards Love and her apparent fear of losing out on Cobain’s money should they divorce, no one seems to be willing to suggest that Tom Grant is doing the same thing by holding onto an already debunked myth that Love was involved in Cobain’s death and making money off of this myth for years.
From an entertainment point of view the film is only entertaining because it’s such twaddle. While I don’t believe for a second that Love had anything to do with Cobain’s death I find myself drawn to the books and films that so desperately want us to believe that she is responsible. People love to hate Love.
Right now Love is threatening legal action to any cinema that plans to show the film but lucky for you, you can watch the film on Vimeo so if you’re interested I’d get on and watch it now before it disappears from there!