20,000 Days on Earth is a bold and unique look at one of music's most mysterious and charismatic figures, the iconic musician and writer Nick Cave. Defying traditional rock documentary aesthetics, directors Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard push the genre to unexplored territory, presenting a vision of an artist in a way that is unconventional yet undeniably intimate, while also exploring more universal themes of creativity and how we choose to spend our time on the Earth. It ruthlessly deconstructs two very different art forms, music and documentary, yet takes nothing away from the everyday reality or magic of its main subject.
The film presents Cave's personal analysis of his own life and creative processes. He shares humorous tales of times past with band mate and frequent collaborator Warren Ellis, and engages in enlightening discussion with those who have affected his life both professionally and personally, including former Bad Seed Blixa Bargeld, actor friend Ray Winstone, and perhaps most notably Kylie Minogue, with whom Cave collaborated on his breakout hit Where the Wild Roses Grow in 1995. These segments are presented in an almost daydream-like form, as Cave sits behind the wheel reflecting on his experiences while driving through his adopted home town of Brighton.