Movie Review: When You are Strange
The ripples from the music of the Doorways continue to be felt, more than 40 years after Mild My Hearth first burned up the airwaves (and there wasn’t one other tune in 1967, with the doable exception of Any person to Love, that you heard extra continuously on the radio).
Yet there are whole generations to whom this seminal rock band is nothing more than a guanti stone island part of their mother and father’ deteriorating album assortment or the topic of a fanciful Oliver Stone movie or something that occasionally pops up on the traditional-rock station.
So Tom DiCillo’s When You are Unusual (opening in restricted release on Friday, 4/9/10) is a welcome cinematic excursion, exploration and excavation. Using a nicely understated narration (read by Johnny Depp) and a trove of archival footage that was beforehand unseen, as well as the vast Doorways musical catalog, DiCillo plunges you into the world of Jim Morrison and his bandmates as they set sail on what was an intense and pervasive 4 12 months ride on the charts and into the psyche of American teenagers (and the world).
DiCillo makes the smart selection of ignoring the documentary convention of speaking heads. No one needs to explain the Doorways to us; nobody has to pontificate or supply retrospective interpretation or knowledge. As an alternative, working from a ton of latest footage, DiCillo lets the band and the music speak for itself.
But they accomplish that with a minimal of previous interview footage. Rather, he takes advantage of the fact that Morrison and keyboardst Ray Manzarek have been each movie college students at UCLA, who had the foresight to engage one other would-be filmmaker to comply with them around with a digital camera, filming them backstage and in efficiency (usually silently) when they have been at their ease, relatively untouched by the large star-making equipment or their very own fame.
That includes the opening sequence: a bearded, woozy-wanting Morrison rising from the wreckage of a automobile by the facet of a desert freeway, carrying a tie-dyed Henley-collared shirt, jeans and a bomber jacket. He surveys the scene, then steps to the aspect of the freeway and flags down a automotive, the place the driver is … Jim Morrison. It’s part of a film Morrison himself made in his spare time, after the band hit.
Different sequences stand out, notably a live performance at an outside football field on Long Island, through which Morrison, with no bodyguards or other seen safety, goes out earlier than the concert and just walks among the crowd, talking to the youngsters who would have interaction with him. Some simply wish to touch him, but others seem pleased at the prospect to talk with a rock god who was unconvinced of his personal divinity.