The plot tracks the true story of the coming together of the band, their journey to success and Morrison's star power, until his physical decline, erratic behaviour and pitiable death in 1971.
Oliver Stones hallucinatory psychodrama biopic of rock god/poet Jim Morrison goes further than most cinematic memoirs of artists in confronting its subjectís destructive impulses while glorifying his creative energy.
Val Kilmer is extraordinary as Morrison, holding the centre with a demonic charisma, while Stone recreates the late '60s milieu with vibrant versimilitude.
The coming together of The Doors (with Kyle MacLachlan particularly strong as the disciplined organist Ray Manzarek), their rise and Morrison's star power are conveyed with fond exhilaration. But there's also a constant undercurrent of awareness that the permissiveness and excess of the day will fuel Morrison's horrific physical decline and his erratic, obnoxious behaviour, bringing about his pitiable death in 1971.
The clear intent is to equate the acid experience, the quest for inner knowledge and Jim's creepy sado-masochism with the dark, nightmare side of The American Dream. In this, the film is fairly successful. But the attempts to plumb Morrison's sensitive side, his (pretentious) philosophical bent and his struggle to channel his considerable talents positively are something of a blur in the trippy kaleidoscope. Great soundtrack, though!
Released: 17 February 2003
The array of titbits are all disappointing leftovers from the original sales material. Behind The Scenes, for example, is a poor eight minutes of location footage with no narration and, in places, no sound. The ‘making of’ is even shorter and equally disjointed, while the music video for Break On Through is just a promo of hectically edited clips.
However, Stone’s audio commentary is up to his usual superior standard as he reveals more about Morrison (and his own fascination with him) than the film itself does. He is also very interesting on the technical aspects of the film, explains special effects, points out homages, metaphors and totems, and discusses the cast.
This film suceeds in communicating the "acid experience", though attempts to show Morrison's sensitive side get lost in the trippy kaleidoscope.
Reviewed by Angie Errigo