When You're Strange 2009 ★★★

I admit to having only a passing interest in The Doors, though a few years back I read the Light My Fire biography penned by their keyboardist Ray Manzarek and, as a result, gained new level of respect for ther music. Biographies can often make music more interesting in the same way that behind-the-scenes information about films can shed new light and reveal extra layers of understanding. So it was with some anticipation that came to watch When You're Strange.

It's an odd kind of documentary. The level of access to footage (some of it unseen before, I believe) is quite amazing, including late footage of Morrison's HWY project that could easily have been shot in the modern day, and it catches incredibly 'inside' snippets of conversations and situations. But it differs from most documentaries in that there are very few interviews direct to the camera, instead opting for a voice-over from Johnny Depp to tell the story. In some ways this is refreshing because nearly all the footage is of the band themselves rather than being split with external talking heads, however without direct interviews there is a level of detail that is lost and the story can end up feeling rather simplistic in places (though my feeling on that could just be a result of having read the biography).

As others have said, if you're a fan of the band this doco won't reveal much that is new... but it is most definitely worth the watch, even just for the footage alone.

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