Although the title would have you believe that this is a biopic of the entire band, we learn next to nothing about Ray Manzarek, John Densmore or Robby Krieger here, as the emphasis is so firmly on the Doors’ charismatic, enigmatic frontman Jim Morrison who died of heart failure in 1971 at the age of 27.
Unfortunately, co-writer/director Oliver Stone is so preoccupied with exploring the native American influences on Morrison’s music and re-creating the sights and sounds of the 1960s that we discover precious little about Morrison either.
Val Kilmer does, however, pull off a remarkable impression of the troubled vocalist, although he’s more convincing on stage than he is in his drunken, drug-fuelled reveries.
Two women in the Lizard King’s life are also featured: Patricia Kennealy (a strident Kathleen Quinlan), a journalist whom Morrison bullies into having an abortion; and Pamela Courson (a wan Meg Ryan), his long-suffering girlfriend, whose smack habit (she OD’d in 1974) is tied to his indifference and neglect.
Morrison is shown to be a talentless, spoiled egomaniac, unable to stagger through a single scene without whisky, pills or powder (though his real Doors colleagues argued that his addictions had been camped up for the movie).
If Morrison had a brighter side, you certainly won’t find it shining here.