In 1965, Ray Manzarek (Kyle MacLachlan) meets Jim Morrison (Val Kilmer) at UCLA Film School. This is where he pitches Jim the idea to form a rock band. With Robby Krieger (Frank Whaley) and John Densmore (Kevin Dillon), this band became known as The Doors. The band’s basis was based on mutual agreement, but many saw that Jim was self-indulgent when performing on stage from hogging the limelight and the many controversial lyrics. His stage antics were spurred on by the excessive consumption of alcohol and hard drugs.
Those looking in began to see Jim as “The Doors”, even though he was always high on drugs, donning the self-proclaimed title of “The Lizard King.” It’s that showiness that gets The Doors a deal with Elektra Records resulting in superstardom. Although he has a good rapport with the fans, Jim had a bad relationship with authority. He loathes authority, and he’s constantly being apprehended by police due to his anti-establishment behaviour. Through the course of the movie, there’s Jim’s longterm girlfriend Pamela Courson (Meg Ryan), with whom he is in a weird relationship from his sleeping around to his dangerous drug-fuelled erratic behaviour that irks her and many others too.
Along with the Rolling Stones, The Clash and The Jam, The Doors have gone down in rock n roll legend. Given the themes and subject matter, Oliver Stone (JFK) was able to make a movie so trippy that I thought I had taken acid. I think this movie was given an incorrect title. It wasn’t about the band at all. In typical fashion, Jim Morrison was front and centre. The film should have been called The Short Life Of Jim Morrison as it depicted his wildness in the crazy side of him due to the excessive drugs and alcohol. But is often said that Jim was The Doors and that’s what story Stone has tried to tell. Stone has depicted Morrison as part-asshole and part-gentleman. When he’s sober, he’s a more amiable person.
I really enjoyed the trippy and psychedelic nature of the film. You’re either going to like this film or hate it as the trippiness is too much for some people as well as Val Kilmer’s great portrayal as Jim Morrison. Val Kilmer (Batman Forever) is ace in the role. He’s not acting as Jim. He becomes Jim Morrison to the point that it becomes scary. It’s one of the best performances I’ve ever seen in any biography drama. This is aided by the fact that Val Kilmer is a doppelgänger of Jim. Much of the singing in the film is done by Kilmer and it’s difficult to tell the difference between Kilmer and Morrison.
The film is excellent and a great musical biopic set in a turbulent time of music history. Oliver Stone is my favourite director, and this adds to his quality roster of films. For a trippy flick, it shows us a reality beyond the reality; world within worlds. As if that piece of philosophical discourse was enough to throw your head. The movie is more than a musical biopic. It’s deeper than that. It’s not something you can explain. It’s something that you feel and I felt it when I watched the movie. It probably has more of that effect on artists than your standard film watchers. Filled with great performances from the cast with Val Kilmer front and centre as Jim Morrison, quality dialogue and fantastic cinematic visuals, The Doors is a must watch for artists and film fans alike.