When You're Strange

"OK"

When You're Strange Review


Expertly assembled with an array of never-seen footage, this film documents the Doors in a fairly straightforward way, telling their story with remarkable detail but never quite getting beneath the surface.

What makes it interesting is the way DiCillo puts the band's brief five-year career in context with the world around it. By any measurement, 1966 to 1971 were volatile years in America as the flower-power promise of youth was crushed by a series of horrible assassinations and premature deaths, then silenced by a right-wing political and social snap. The Doors traversed this turmoil mainly due to Jim Morrison's raw sex appeal, mercurial talent and addictive obsessions. In this account, the other three seem like fairly normal guys who never really indulged at all.

Surely the truth lies somewhere in between, but then Morrison isn't around to defend himself. What we have instead is the terrific raw footage: performances, interviews and home movies. And it's especially well-edited into a fluid account accompanied by Depp's almost too-cool narration. Alongside such scenes as the Doors' notorious appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, we clearly see the bandmates' classical and jazz musical influences, which is what made them so unusual at the time (and still today). Not to mention Morrison's passion for film and philosophy.

On stage and off, Morrison oozed charisma, charming everyone with his velvety voice and dazzling grin. Meanwhile, we see that behind the scenes the band was struggling to keep Morrison on his feet, dubbing his destructive side "Jimbo".

DiCillo also documents this side of the story with telling detail, including the legendary Miami concert that almost destroyed the band. Although beyond drug-speak, we never quite understand why they took their name from a William Blake poem: "If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite."

It's rather odd that DiCillo never quite cracks through the legend. Most of this information is already on public record, so the film's real strength is the superb archival footage that shows vividly what all the fuss was about.

Watching the Doors play now is still a revelation, because there's never really been a band like them since. So this film is not only an important document, it's also essential for Doors fans.



When You're Strange

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 86 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 12th May 2010

Distributed by: Rhino Entertainment Co.

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
Fresh: 42 Rotten: 26

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: John Beug, , Peter Jankowski

Starring: as Narrator, as Himself (archive footage), as Himself (archive footage), as Himself (archive footage), as Himself (archive footage), as Himself (voice)

Also starring: ,


Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Amy Movie Review

Amy Movie Review

As with his Formula One documentary Senna, filmmaker Asaf Kapadia cleverly uses archival footage to...

Terminator Genisys Movie Review

Terminator Genisys Movie Review

This declining franchise really needed a jolt to the head, but the producers disappointingly opt...

Magic Mike XXL Movie Review

Magic Mike XXL Movie Review

Resisting the temptation to capitalise on the camp value of these characters, Channing Tatum and...

She's Funny That Way Movie Review

She's Funny That Way Movie Review

Wacky enough to make us smile but never laugh out loud, this screwball comedy harks...

Advertisement
Everly Movie Review

Everly Movie Review

A relentless onslaught of violent action, this movie is notable mainly because there's a woman...

Slow West Movie Review

Slow West Movie Review

First-time feature filmmaker John Maclean takes a strikingly original approach to the Western, creating a...

Mr. Holmes Movie Review

Mr. Holmes Movie Review

Despite this being a film about Sherlock Holmes, the fact that it's not much of...

Entourage Movie Review

Entourage Movie Review

Both shameless and shamelessly entertaining, this relentlessly boyish movie carries on exactly as the TV...

Advertisement