Oliver Stone continues his postmortem of '60s America with this extravagant, rather silly recreation of the creative and destructive life of Jim Morrison, the cult rock poet and performer who died in 1971 at age 27.
The film begins in 1966 with a young Morrison (Val Kilmer) in his California element: beach bumming, experimenting with drugs, writing poetry, womanizing. With kindred cosmic spirit Ray Manzarek (Kyle MacLachlan) and two others, he forms a garage band--The Doors--and begins singing his poems.
Early appearances in the underground clubs of LA meet with wild enthusiasm, particularly from groupies attracted by Morrison's sexual magnetism. Success follows rapidly. The Doors make albums, do concert tours and appear on "The Ed Sullivan Show"--all while Morrison continues to push the limits of
drug-enhanced musical performance and sexual experimentation. His partner in these escapades is his wife Pam (Meg Ryan), nee Courson, who both shares and endures his abuses.
The first hour of THE DOORS is a seamless visual and aural trip that perfectly captures the spirit of Jim Morrison's hypnotic music and decadent, nihilistic lifestyle. Also crucial to the film's ability to persuade fans is Val Kilmer's performance. With the aid of some faultless costuming and
makeup he definitively captures the real Morrison's posing, swagger and facial expressions. Without this studied physical reincarnation of the young cult figure, Stone's movie would have fallen flat much more quickly than it does.
Perhaps THE DOORS' ultimate failure is caused by its overly exact reproduction of the latter part of Morrison's life. After an interesting rise to musical fame in the first hour, viewers are left with an additional ninety minutes of this anti-hero's solipsism, narcissism, and joyless descent into
death. By recreating things too well, the film itself becomes as boring, indulgent and over-stuffed as its hero. leave a comment