You’re Strange (15)
Written and directed by Tom DiCillo
Screening at from 2nd July 2010
With six albums released between 1967 and 1971, The Doors were an unstoppable
force in American music, and an integral component of the 1960s counterculture
The untimely death of frontman Jim Morrison cut short what could have
been a far more extensive musical repertoire (although the remaining band
members did record two further albums) and this sense of lost potential
resonates strongly in DiCillo’s adoring documentary, When You’re
This relatively obscure film has been brought into the mainstream thanks
to Johnny Depp’s involvement in the project. I am glad to say, however,
that his presence as narrator doesn’t distract from the power of
the story, or from Morrison’s mesmerising antics. Instead Depp becomes
an anonymous storyteller (a role that, incidentally, suits him much better)
and his paced delivery unravels the band’s life story at a riveting
The film retraces the story of The Doors from their innocuous conception
to their explosive and heart-numbingly tragic end. A crucial decision
of DiCillo in telling this tale was to exclude any new interview footage.
For this the film has received criticism, as it relies almost entirely
on archival footage, and excludes the vocalised memories and opinions
of those involved. The film works nonetheless, and although it would no
doubt be fascinating to hear modern recounts of the story being told,
the externalisation would tear through the narrative. The beauty of this
documentary is that the viewer falls into the era – and era is central
to The Doors’ poetry and success.
The events portrayed in the documentary have been chosen carefully as
to encapsulate Morrison’s rise and fall, but the band as a group
and individuals are not ignored, and the unique sound of The Doors is
explored in depth – a sound which was created, seemingly, at random.
The footage used is immersive and has been seamlessly edited into a flowing
composition. Featuring live performances, studio recordings, and back
stage filming, the film is vibrant and moving enough to sustain the interest
of any cinemagoer, and is a must see for all fans of the band.