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The Best Doors Documentary ... yet
on 6 January 2011
By no means perfect, "When You're Strange" reminds me of the cheap and tacky ripoffs that clog up Poundlands across the UK, though this is much much better than that tat. Depp narrates a mythological text, and the film revolves around this narrative. The film footage shown is woven around the story with tact and care, showing much that even to a hardened Doors fan has never been seen before : fragments from recording sessions, backstage footage, live material (and it is more than frustrating that only one Doors concert has been released in full visually thus far), and period interviews are skilfully interspliced with rarely seen footage from Morrison's amateur films (the largely plotless "Hwy") all restored to immaculate quality. Where this film does suffer, is that there is no retrospective footage, no post-1970 interviews, no historical context included, and thus, the major players, including the surviving members of the band have no opportunity to clarify, or detail, any of the events unfolding in this story apart from fragments of at-the-time discussion caught on camera. This is the films major weakness ; that it relies solely on archival material - and fails to use the important voice of memory to aide the story. It is the best Doors documentary ; and probably the best one there is going to be, and that is this films weakest element. To a relative newcomer to Doorsville, it's a necessary step - to the experienced and stoned immaculate, it's a case of being told what you already know, by Johnny Depp.