Film Review // 20,000 Days on Earth

Paul Wain, one of our Music Supervisors in EMEA, gives us a peek into the new film capturing Nick Cave’s 20,oooth day on earth…

20,000 Days On Earth is a documentary about the singer, writer & international cultural icon Nick Cave, by british artists Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard. Based around a fictitious 24 hours in Caves life (his 20,000th day on earth), the film features frank insights and intimate portrayal of the artistic process.

Based in his now adopted hometown of Brighton, an appointment with a psychoanalyst, lunch with collaborator Warren Ellis and a visit to the wonderfully reimagined Nick Cave Archive each offer their own insights into the man and his motivations, while a series of car journeys are given a dreamlike quality by various faces conjured from Cave’s past, including actor Ray Winstone and unlikely chart-friendly foil Kylie Minogue.

Around the midway point, “20,000 Days on Earth” starts getting more serious about the music, which is welcome. There are studio snippets of Cave and Ellis working out tunes (one segues unexpectedly into Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long”), spooky midnight ballad “Higgs Boson Blues” and a roaring climax at the Sydney Opera House with Cave turning the song “Jubilee Street” into a shamanistic exorcism backed by a full string section and a children’s choir.

The film certainly allows Cave to present himself on his own terms, but it’s also as intelligent, articulate and subtly mischievous as its subject.

The premier was screened simultaneously across a selected 150 cinemas in the UK, after which Cave was ‘subjected’ to a Q&A session followed by a six song solo set.

Whilst many documentaries provide the life of an artist, very few succeed at showing his soul. This is one.

Quote of the film …”It’s better to act on a bad idea, than not to act at all!”