Friday, January 13, 2023

Door Mouse: Movie Review

Door Mouse creates a very specific world, but one which is hard to get used to. Mouse (Hayley Law) is a comic book artist and a dancer at a burlesque club. The aesthetic is gritty punk, or neo-noire as marketed. Mouse is poor, lives in the slums, drinks coffee, smokes cigarettes, draws her comics and then goes to work. Rinse and repeat.   2022

Directed by: Avan Jogia

Screenplay by: Avan Jogia

Starring: Hayley Law, Keith Powers

If you’re not a comic book artist or connoisseur and don’t work in a sleazy night club, then the film really doesn’t care about trying to get you invested in the characters or interested in their world. A lot of effort was spent in creating the world and its visual atmosphere, and a lot less effort was spent on connecting the characters to the audience.

The burlesque club has one owner (Famke Janssen) and five other employees (including Mouse and Ugly (Keith Powers) and two fellow dancers), but zero customers or maybe one on a good night. So I have no clue how that’s a viable business. Sorry, scratch that, after watching the entire movie, then you’ll have a clue how that’s a viable business and why Janssen’s Mama is such a terrible boss. There’s so little interesting at the beginning, that it just seems like a poorly written movie rather than a movie that actually does lead somewhere.

When one dancer goes missing, Mouse and Ugly take it upon themselves to find her. The issue here is the plotting and the lack of connection to the characters. Mouse has a “fuck the world” and laissez-faire attitude, so everything takes way too long and if the main character only kind of cares, then the audience is only going to kind of care. The neo-noire atmosphere though creates a strange tone. When a ring of stolen girls is uncovered, it’s not presented as something serious, but more of a dark comedy. It definitely feels like the wrong tone. Sex trafficking isn’t exactly funny.

Slowly the film does build to a more interesting plot. First a poor vs rich theme is introduced (why can't the rich ever do something normal when they get bored?) and then Mouse becomes more determined to track down the missing girls and makes a drastic but interesting decision when she’s out of other options. The tone also evens out once the plot gets more interesting and things start making a bit more sense.

Unfortunately, it’s a too little too late situation. Door Mouse presents an uninviting world with characters who don’t care and act so slowly, then it takes half the movie for the audience to even realize it’s heading anywhere interesting.

Available to rent on iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, Amazon, etc.

Or Something Similar But Different:

  Murder of a Cat (2014) - A wickedly funny noir unravelling the mystery of a dead cat.

  Bundles (2022) - A dark comedy revenge tale with the entrepreneurial spirit.

(P.S. If you liked what you just read, please consider clicking on an ad. It will cost you nothing, but will bring in a little money for me.)