When You're Strange

"Good"

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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.