Movie Review: The Doors

Archived

Directed by Oliver Stone.

Starring Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison.

 

The success or failure of Oliver Stone’s latest epic, a more than 120 minute biography of ‘60s rock icon The Doors, may go a long way toward demonstrating how much Americans really loved the ‘60s.

Already in its fourth week of release, The Doors has fallen significantly (business-wise) from its opening weekend, in lieu of such inexplicable “mega-hits” as The Hard Way and Sleeping With Julia Roberts or The Enemy. That’s unfortunate, because if there’s anything that might give American viewers insight into the ‘60s drug and rock cultures, it’s The Doors.

However, the movie’s seeming failure may show that, like skepticism and ignorance directed toward this year’s peace protest—which echoed Vietnam War Sentiments—this country would prefer to gloss over the harsh realities of the ‘60s as well as those of the ‘90s.

Though it probably could have been called “Morrison,” the picture revolves around the enigmatic performer’s life—including recollections of Morrison’s relatively youthful college and early band experiences, for a short exposition of Morrison’s and Ray Manzarek’s (well-played by cult actor Kyle MacLachlan) UCLA film school careers, the film jumps into early Doors practices (neglecting both men’s brief stints in a band with two of Manzarek’s brothers).

The performance scenes are especially riveting, as are early drug experiences and details of Morrison’s dalliance with journalist Patricia Kennealy.

That Stone and co-screenwriter J. Randall Johnson have taken liberties with events in Morrison’s life is not an issue, especially with Stone’s psychedelically influenced direction and Val Kilmer’s ghostly performance.

Forget what “Eggburp,” the fat critic said, the film never gets too depressing, despite Morrison’s self-destructive tendencies. Plus, with the faithfully recreated concert scenes, we get a little more Doors exposure. Who could ask for more?

 

For more from the SLUG Archives:

Something New

Record Reviews – What’s New at 4AD