Last night I checked out When You’re Strange – the new documentary on The Doors directed by Tom Dicillo and narrated by Johnny Depp. Now, when Johnny Depp agrees to narrate a film, you can pretty much guarantee that it’s going to be cool – not that The Door’s need Johnny Depp to validate their cool – but its an added bonus isn’t it?
For someone of my generation who can only reflect upon The Doors’ heyday as a historic entity , the greatest thing about this movie is the fact that the majority of it is made up from live performance and behind the scenes footage. A a result we are subjected to an honest portrayal of Jim Morisson’s tempestuous talent. Live performances of songs such as “Love me two times,” and “Riders on the Storm,” are literally breathtaking, so much so they invoked in me a kind of faux nostalgia deriving from a personal longing to have been there for these momentous musical displays.
The movie takes us on a journey through Jim’s life, through the life of The Doors, through the life of their music. Depp’s insightful comments, provide intimate revelations into Morisson’s personality and detail the trials and tribulations of the band. Scenes of Morisson arriving at recording sessions monstrously drunk, ranting and writhing on stage are not omitted. As well inversigating his role within the public eye, emphasis is placed on Morrison’s more personal existence and his consideration of his own didactic potential as a poet.
There’s something alluringly voyeuristic about watching behind the scenes footage Morrison and the other band members. It’s both humanizing and inspiring. We enter into the complex world of a genius. We look into his eyes, hear his thoughts, listen to his poetry watch him perform off his head on acid and are mesmerised. The longevity of The Door’s music speaks volumes as to the extent of their combined musical talent but never before have I seen this talent dissected, broken down or investigated so beautifully. Along with millions of others I have been captivated by the music and Morisson’s voice. But now when I listen to The Doors I feel his dangerous charisma, his sexuality, his mind and his poetry, his existence as a disturbed and disturbing human being.
In “LA woman” Morisson chants Mr. Mojo Risin, an annogram of Jim Morisson. Mr. Mojo Risin and his music lures us into a trance that is verging on otherworldly. He is both the man of my dreams and the man of my nightmares. This, in knowledge of where The Door’s name is derived from adds a further layer of mystique. Morrison named his band before it had even formed using a quote from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell:
” If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite “
As history has come to show, his choice was an apt one. It is as though in these words, he foresaw his destiny. As he came to personify the source of “the Doors,” The Doors came to personify the words that articulate their own philosophical basis. Jim may have died at only 27 but infinity he achieved.
Let The Doors live on.