8 September 2014

The Doors: When You're Strange

The Doors - When You’re Strange 2010
  • Directors: Tom DiCillo
  • Based on book: No.
  • Cast: Johnny Depp with The Doors - Jim Morrison, John Densmore, Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek in archive footage.
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Johnny Depp -  look at one of the reviews of a real JD film.
  • Why? JD. 38th in JD marathon
  • Seen:  September 6, 2014
The Doors played a rather large part in my teenage music world but then other things became more important.
We first learned of this film through a poster at the cinema a few years back. “Oh, look! A new Johnny Depp film!”
Well, not exactly.
We are given a straightforward presentation of the rise and fall of the Doors (well they haven’t really fallen; the albums are still selling by the million). JD narrates. His voice is not noticeably JD’s voice.  It’s pleasant, it’s professional, he does his job well.
There are short clips from concerts and backstage, some interviews.  Morrison’s overuse of drugs and alcohol is of course central as is the loyalty of the other group members, in spite of the conflicts.  The most disturbing thing brought up by the film is the reactionary, almost perverse, obsession of the US laws and public with body parts. It’s absurd. Poor Morrison. Poor Doors.
We hear a lot of good music. The question is – is it profound or pretentious?  Who’s to say?  I feel little or no nostalgia for the 60’s but I like the music.  I like the Doors. Jim Morrison has never been my hero however.
Though interesting the film doesn’t change this. It leaves me mostly unmoved.
And JD? He’s really very anonymous.

2 ½ * of 5.


  1. That looks interesting and worth seeing. Ruby, now it's the time to see (again?) Oliver Stone's biopic with Val Kilmer. It's among my favourites, although it's one of those movies (as are "Apocalypse Now" and "One Flight Over the Cuckoo's Nest", for example) that I revisit far from often.

    "The question is – is it profound or pretentious?" That is the question indeed, and I believe Hamlet would have agreed. I should say it's both profound and pretentious, but the former more than the latter. JM has never been among my heroes either, but he is a rather fascinating creature. Some of his lyrics are quite haunting. And we should never forget that The Doors (much like Led Zeppelin, Queen or Metallica) was - is - something much greater than the sum of its parts, however brilliant some of these parts may have been.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Alexander. Yes, it could well be time to see Oliver Stone's film again. I've only seen it once. And I also agree that JM's lyrics are haunting. Profound or not, they've stayed with me.