When You’re Strange – Tom DiCillo
Being that i knew nothing of the band The Doors, i came into the film not knowing the true legacy of the band, not knowing that they have a strange cult following because of the type of music they produced and because of their famous lead singer, Jim Morrison. A name famous for his wild rock and roll antics and his stage performances, Jim was one of the first real front men, a guy who took the charisma and energy and made a performance out of it, and some people still believe him to be the best still to this day. Coming into this documentary just being released on DVD in the UK, i wanted to find out more. I’ve always heard people talk about The Doors, saying the band influenced them in their music and that Jim Morrison is a legend even if he died at a very early age. Once i found out that the film would be narrated by Johnny Depp, having the interest of a mega star, you realise that The Doors haven’t just inspired musicians but anyone who heard their music or the band themselves in how different and cutting edge they were in the 60s and 70s. The archive footage they have of Jim paints two different pictures where the drugged out wild man who sometimes performs with a sense of danger and flair juxtaposes the sweet and lost boy who just wants to perform. The scenes where he talks to his fans and helps them out are miles apart from the image that Jim has had painted for him in the research i read before watching the film.
Showing the beginning and the end of the band, the documentary examines different peaks and falls in the band’s history from performing in front of packed out arenas, to meeting their inspiration in music to being embroiled in drug problems and being used as a scapegoat for the “problems” of society at that point with the youth uprising. The double ended sword ends tragically for Jim Morrison and the death of this musician really has an effect on the world. The film is well put together, the music fits the scenes and the true emotion of the band really shines through. It doesn’t over hype the band; it doesn’t make them out to be money hungry musicians who just care about getting paid, but really shows the compassion and drive to succeed in creating music that people enjoy. Even if that means pushing themselves to the brink of no return.
Since watching the film, I’ve become a big fan of their music and I’ll defiantly be recommending the film and their music to other people, because it clearly deserves it.