Nick Cave, who has recently lent his writing talents to the movie business with scripts for The Proposition and Lawless, takes centre stage here in a semi-fictionalized account of a day in his life. Often insightful and sometimes humorous the film is split between performance, open heart therapy sessions and long drives with past collaborators. He openly discusses his relationship with his father and how in the past he would go to church on the same days he would inject himself with heroin. He attempts to define himself both as a person and a musician; the conclusion of which is both are a work in progress.
He emphasizes how he is never more alive than when he is on stage. The powerful energy from an audience transcends his performance to where he becomes almost like an unapologetic diva. He intimates that every performance becomes a therapeutic release and celebration of the creative spirit. In a humorous conversation with frequent collaborator Warren Ellis, he remembers the pre-show eccentricity of Nina Simone and her demands of wanting some ‘ some champagne, some cocaine and some sausages!’. Then, on stage commanding the audience’s attention to a dictatorial degree; much to Cave’s astonishment and envy.
His car journeys with Ray Winstone and Kylie Minogue bring Cave’s egotism to the fore. Often ignoring the replies of his passenger and wallowing in his own mythical meanderings of his own existence. His soulful performance of Higgs-Boson Blues is a joy for the purists and in many ways gives the audience confirmation of Cave’s creative process and undoubted ability as a songwriter.
20 000 Days on Earth is, like his music, deeply philosophical. He allows us for a brief period into a world steeped in imagery born through language. A must see for any Nick Cave fan and for those who are not; tough.