When You’re Strange: Film Review

When You're Strange

It’s nearly 40 years since Jim Morrison died and its twenty years since the remaining members disapproved of Val Kilmer’s portrayal of The Lizard King in Oliver Stone’s biopic, ‘The Doors’. There have been dozens of books and hundreds of accounts of the life and times of Jim Morrison and The Doors. Can a new film actually add to that?

When You’re Strange‘ is directed by Tom DiCillo and is compiled from archive footage along with HWY: An American Pastoral, Jim Morrison’s 1969’s 50 minute experimental film. Narration is provided by Johnny Depp.

The film traces the life of The Doors from getting together through to Morrison’s death. Using archived material, DiCillo has pieced together an almost documentary style of film. The Doors are shown recording their first album to Morrison’s infamous on stage arrests in New Haven, Connecticut and Miami, Florida. It also shows us the vulnerable poet side of Morrison.

The film doesn’t sugar-coat the troubles of the band and is a great starting point for anyone wanting to find out about The Doors. It shows why The Doors were relevant at the time but also the what the USA was like with its youth culture of the late sixties. It’s an interesting story that has been told well, it’s just we’ve heard it before.