Writer/director Tom DiCillo goes a bit overboard with his rhetoric, describing Morrison as "like an ancient shaman." Johnny Depp's measured narration brings DiCillo's often worshipful words back to earth.
In hindsight (and on paper) it all seems old hat, but with savvy editing of intense footage, DiCillo puts us there, onstage, backstage, in the studio, and we're as intoxicated as Morrison's audience. Almost.
DiCillo approaches this nonfiction project with the glazed eyes of a true fan. He has the participation of surviving band members and a lot of rare, mesmerizing footage at his disposal ... What he doesn't have is critical distance or anything new to say.
Director Tom DiCillo does his damnedest to make his documentary about The Doors unwatchable, but the subject matter is too compelling -- and the vintage footage too electrifying -- to be completely worthless.
If you're a Doors fan, your inner Jim Morrison will be stoked by the vast archival footage in When You're Strange. Be warned, however: this documentary doesn't open any new doors, and, worse, it's negligent in its history.