The Doors- movie talks about rise and early fall of the great Jim Morrison. And I can now say I can’t recall a film that evokes the era of drugs, sex, rock n roll more potently than this. Directed by Oliver Stone starring Val Kilmer as Morrison & Meg Ryan as his companion, The Doors goes ahead than the time of drugs and sex to Morrision thinking about death and life. The movie shows change in Morrison or “Mr. Moji Rising’ from a fascinated guy to a narcissist and getting involved in psychedelic drugs pulling his group mates in it too.
The movie shows Morrison from his days as a film student in UCLA to his death in Paris in 1971, at the age of 27. The movies boasts of impressive performance by Val Kilmer, who not only looks like Jim Morrison but also sounds like him. It has been written that even the surviving Doors had trouble distinguishing Kilmer’s vocals from Morrison’s originals.Johnny Depp , John Travolta, Bono were also said to be considered for Jim’s role but Val Kilmer was landed and Man..what a performance he delivers.
The film opens during the recording of Morrison’s and quickly moves to a childhood memory of his family. We see a four year old Jim with his parents as they drive by an accident. Several Native Americans are injured, some dying. In Morrison’s account the spirit of a dying Indian leapt into him – it was his life’s pivotal moment. The film picks up with his introduction to his girlfriend Pamela Courson (Meg Ryan) and his first encounters with Ray Manzarek, and the origin of The Doors: Manzarek, Robby Krieger, and John Densmore.
Morrison convinces his bandmates to travel to valley of death and experience the mind-expanding effects of drugs. In one of the films mesmerizing sequences where the band trips out in the desert, flying high on peyote. Morrison imagines he sees his spiritual guide whom her follows him into a cave — the unknown. Morrison believed in a “long prolonged derangement of the senses to attain the unknown.‘The Doors’ refers to William Blake’s quote: “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is: infinite.”
Slowly as The Doors become hugely successful, Morrison became narcissist as he sunk deeper into an alcoholic haze he begins having several affairs, especially with a rock journalist practising witchcraft. Off-stage Morrison’s prolonged assault on his own psyche begins to take its toll – in his relationship with Pam, with his fellow Doors, and finally with fans. By the time Doors made ‘L.A. Woman’ – their last album – Morrison was smoking 5 packs of cigarettes a day. By 19721 he parts on good terms with The Doors. He flies off with his love interest to Paris where he spends the last few months of his life. One 1971 morning — Pam founds Jim in his bathtub. It is said that the death is due to heart failure.
The cinematography in “The Doors” is excellent which includes some early Computer Graphics, is bold and unique making the film one of the most distinct visual films. The music supports the story telling very well. The movie focussed on Morrison’s habit of self destruction of which not many people approved of. Stone shows Morrison’s madness in such a way that one will start thinking what is he doing. Val Kilmer is simply brilliant in the role of Morrison. He sang all of the live tracks on the film and it’s even said that even Morrison’s own band-mates had trouble distinguishing Kilmer’s voice. Kilmer spent a year dressing like Morrison, hanging out at his old haunts on Sunset Strip. The story is well supported with good supporting star cast and some very good editing which takes the movie to another level as such. This is one of the movies where you don’t recognise Meg Ryan but her character Pam more.
Overall it’s a strong attempt at one of the most difficult subjects to cover, legends and that also like Morrison. And even though it’s not entirely accurate I enjoyed the film. Oliver Stone focuses on the wrong things. Sure, Jim Morrison was an alcoholic with a disregard for authority, yes he was on self destruct mode and burnt out quickly, but he was also a very intelligent, sensitive, friendly and funny person. This is far from the picture most people have of him after seeing the movie. Barring the creative storytelling at places, this film is truly a gem. The USP here is that it is visual-audio as opposed to audio-visual showing the beauty of cinema here. I actually was depressed after this movie..but I didn’t wanted it to end.
Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Val Kilmer, Meg Ryan
Rating – 4.5 out of 5