Time: 140 mins.
SYNOPSIS: The story of the famous and influential 1960's rock band and its lead singer and composer, Jim Morrison.
BOTTOM LINE: Kilmer gives a hypnotic and energetic performance as the troubled legend Jim Morrison that draws you in and breaks your heart despite the shallow script. While the film captures the wild life of this poet turned rock star, it fails miserably in generating a coherent or complex vision of the man himself. Stone is clearly in love with the idea of being a rock God, caring very little for portraying Morrison as a real person with needs and thoughts outside of the musical arena. What he delivers is in your face sex, drugs and rock-n-roll without any heart and little soul.
Morrison's ideas were clearly outside the norm, even for the time, while he was in film school and eventually found the proper outlet for his poetic ramblings as a singer/songwriter. Of course, his particular genius, which fans thirsted for, left those actually sharing his life holding a mixed bag of delusions, dreams and devastation. He clearly had a message he desperately needed to share with the world and Kilmer captures his ambition as well as his vulnerability. The rest of the band isn't really given much to do in the film except complain about Morrison's behavior and then play on.
Ryan is woefully miscast as Pamela Courson, Morrison's muse, a woman who finds herself by picture's end with a broken heart, a serious heroin addiction and shattered illusions about love. Try as she might, Ryan just isn't convincing as a free-loving druggie, but one can understand her need to stretch her acting muscles. What makes this experience at least worth one look is the visual style which, like most of Stone's work, is powerfully kinetic with a raw, undeniable energy. Like Morrison, he never does anything half-heartedly and his pictures blended with The Door's music almost creates a masterful combination of melody and man. Unfortunately, ego got the better of them both.