When You’re Strange (2009) dir: Tom DiCillo

It was late, nothing else to do, there was a queue – so I joined it. Got ticket and sat down. I had no idea what I was about to see.

Go on surprise and entertain me!!!

A minute or two later the director comes out to introduce his film and to apologise for a title card that was going to come up at the start of the film. Something along the lines that: ‘No actors were used in the making of this film.’

Apparently a few critics had walked out during a previous screening, thinking that actors stood in for The Doors in some of the scenes in the film we were about to see. (Either that or it’s part of a PR stunt).

So, the film starts: Someone who looks like a (bearded) Jim Morrisson out and about in the desert. He turns on the radio in his car. A DJ announces: ‘Today Jim Morrisson was found dead in Paris’.

Okay. Interesting. What’s this about?

And so begins a really interesting documentary about Jim Morrisson and The Doors.  How they got together, how they made their music, concerts, politics – the whole shebang – all with original 35mm footage.

I did not know that Jim Morrisson was a film student and had made some short films – outtakes of one were used to frame this film. And also what’s really amazing was that a friend of Jim Morrisson’s, filmmaker Paul Ferrara, followed The Doors around for years filming them. And so some of his footage is used by director Tom DiCillo to create this new documentary which he also narrates.  Apparently Tom’s narration may be replaced by Johnny Depp who saw the film and offered his services – which may help get the film a theatrical release.

I know a few of The Doors’ most famous songs but that’s about it. So for me most of the music as well as the story of this band were new to me.  If you’re a Doors fan, enjoy, if not you’ll still enjoy.

One thing though, according to the director their music has never been used for a car commercial. Not true. I definitely remember hearing ‘Riders on the Storm’ used for a TV tyre commercial.

Anyway, I’m off to buy some Doors tracks.

Author: fosstuff

I'm a writer, director, producer & composer

4 thoughts on “When You’re Strange (2009) dir: Tom DiCillo”

  1. Hi There!
    I write The Doors Examiner & I was would like to link your review to my article. I have a couple of questions I hope you can answer. Was John Densmore in attendance? When did you see the movie I thought the screenings were on 10/16 & 10/18?

    Thank you for your help!
    Jim Cherry

    1. Hi Jim – I saw the movie at the Berlin Film Festival in February – I don’t think John Densmore was there but I’m fairly sure he was in attendance at a screening at Sundance in January. You’re more than welcome to pop in a link – vWv

  2. The Doors not only sounds good, they looks good too. When reasonable sober, Jim Morrison was a genius.

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