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Film review: When You're Strange: A Film About the Doors

When You're Strange: A Film About the Doors (15) *** Directed by: Tom DiCillo

"I'M DRUNK, I'm nobody. I'm drunk, I'm famous. I'm drunk, I'm dead."

US stand-up Denis Leary's succinct dismissal of Oliver Stone's ludicrously pompous 1991 Jim Morrison biopic The Doors holds somewhat true for this latest exercise in Morrison myth-making.

Though pitched as something of an antidote to Stone's film, the wealth of rare archival footage and the fawning Johnny Depp narration fail to make a convincing case for a significant reassessment of Morrison as anything other than an drunken buffoon with nothing to say to anyone beyond the army of fans still infatuated by his bad poetry and leather trousers.

Indeed, the film exposes him as a self-mythologising sham by using as a framing device some little-seen footage that Morrison (a film school drop-out) shot of himself driving through the desert before he was famous.

This will doubtless be a thrill to aficionados, but a clue to the film's real value lies in its subtitle: director Tom DiCillo (Living in Oblivion) refocuses some attention on the strange collection of individuals whose disparate musical influences made the band sound unique, if not always good.

 
 
 

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EDINBURGH
FESTIVALS
2014

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