20,000 Days On Earth is a unique investigation into the mind of an artist. It is not a documentary (or ‘rockumentary’) in the strictest sense of the word. It is sort of a biopic where the art of filmmaking overwhelms the journalistic aspect, so much so that Nick Cave’s interviewee in the documentary is not a journalist but a shrink, who in reality is a writer.
The movie shows 24 hours in the life of the Nick Cave, his 20,000th day on Earth. Of course, the actual recording is definitely way more than 24 hours. The first 3 minutes show a fast-paced montage of Cave’s life from his birth to the present day. A visual treat.
Cave is then seen waking up in his Brighton home. As the seafront light seeps in, we see his wife Susie still asleep, while Nick contemplates for a Bad Seeds studio album. Cave then meets his ‘shrink’, with whom he opens on a variety of subjects dealing with family, spirituality, sexuality, and drug abuse.
What you will find most interesting is his random encounters with celebrity passengers who seem to pop out of nowhere as Cave is driving around Brighton in his black Jaguar. Passengers include Ray Winstine, Blixa Bargeld, and Kylie Minogue. In the conversations he has with his passengers, we learn about his departure from the Bad Seeds, along with his deep views on what power a performer really has over the audience. But do note that all these conversations, while earnest and free flowing, are scripted.
Nick Cave is without a doubt one of the most influential figures in the alternative rock scene. He has solidified his position in the industry since the 1980s, starting as the front man of the Birthday Party. While his fans will obviously tune in to watch the film, if offers a lot for the common movie viewer as well.
Photo courtesy: 20,000 Days on Earth film