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Break on through

Posted on June 01 2018

Does the palace of wisdom really lie beyond the road of excess? In "The Doors" (citywide), writer-director Oliver Stone plays with that proposition, flaunts it. In this sometimes terrific, incendiary movie bio of Jim Morrison--lead singer of the rock band whose eerie, carnivalesque music and poetic or raunchy lyrics summed up the '60s--Stone is going for more than a period piece. He tries to pluck out the fruits of paradise and a season in hell. 

These are questions that Mr. Stone is too bedazzled by Morrison to ask. No wonder so many film-goers are measuring "The Doors" against their own memories or fantasies of Morrison and the 60's. Mr. Stone creates a movie virtually inaccessible to anyone who doesn't share his assumptions. He distances viewers from his film, throwing them out on their own.

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That approach, the bullying narrative surface and the hollow interior, is typical of Mr. Stone's work. He turns characters inside out, splashing their psyches across the screen with montages and quick cuts and circling cameras and extreme close-ups that are meant to mirror some internal energy but are often just dizzying. Pouring all that action onto the surface leaves nothing within the characters.

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