review for The Doors on AllMovie

The Doors (1991)
by Keith Phipps review

By 1990, the air from the '60s had nearly cleared, leaving two ways to look at The Doors and its frontman Jim Morrison: As an overly serious showman whose self-aggrandizing navel-gazing embodied the elements that would eventually turn back the progress of the '60s counterculture and whose pretensions overwhelmed his talent; or as a martyr for self-expression deserving of worship. For this biopic, Oliver Stone, a self-professed Doors fan, opts decisively for the second approach and his film seldom benefits from the choice. Choosing to portray excess through excess, Stone's film is a dizzying neo-psychedelic hodgepodge that leaps from one symbolically-charged incident to another, and for those not already enamored of Morrison and The Doors it might easily verge into camp. Leaping on top of a car and declaring oneself the Lizard King might appear heroic to some, but to others it just looks silly. That said, Stone, as always, has made an audaciously stylish, visually compelling film and Val Kilmer does a remarkable Morrison impression, both on stage and off. The same can't be said of Meg Ryan in the role of Morrison's common-law wife. She delivers a shrill, grating performance that reaches a nadir during a Thanksgiving incident involving a charred turkey. Though too uneven to recommend without grave reservations, beyond disastrous holiday dinners, The Doors is worth viewing for isolated moments of brilliance such as a visit to Andy Warhol's Factory, presided over by none other than Crispin Glover as Warhol.