15 June 2024
Door Mouse out to own on Digital from 10th July 2023

Film Review – Door Mouse (2022)

Door Mouse is the feature length debut from writer and director Avan Jogia. The film stars Hayley Law as the titular character, a graphic novel artist who makes ends meet by dancing in the local burlesque club. The club is frequented by various punters and run by Mama (Famke Janssen), a matriarchal figure who runs a tight ship. When a fellow dancer by the name of Doe-Eyes goes inexplicably missing one night, Mouse takes it upon herself to investigate. Along with her stoic friend Ugly (Keith Powers), a clear misnomer, Mouse discovers that the seedy underbelly of the city is even seedier than she ever could have expected.

Part mystery, part thriller, Door Mouse feels like an homage to old school noir. Only this has been given a thoroughly modern take with comic book style segments and visuals at times reminiscent of a music video. Law plays the part of the world weary detective very effectively, narrating with dead pan delivery and providing a cache of quotable one liners. Janssen is arguably the most recognisable face here, yet she is almost unrecognisable as Mama who certainly doesn’t pull any punches. It is fun for the audience to see her in a role such as this and overall Door Mouse boasts a great cast.

Often mystery films can be criticised for how easy it is, or not, to solve said mystery. This is one element in which Door Mouse excels because the difficulty or ease of solving the mystery is negligible. The fun of watching the action unfold lies, not in the solving of the mystery, but rather in watching Mouse herself. It becomes clear quite quickly that Doe-Eyes has been victim to one of the city’s many criminal residents and so seeing Mouse evolve from a character who appears to be too cynical and worn down to rise before three in the afternoon and lists cigarettes as ‘breakfast,’ to a character willing to protect the vulnerable and downtrodden is great.

Whilst the neo-noir style and certain cliched dialogue may not appeal to everyone, those who appreciate Door Mouse’s approach will find themselves having a blast. In site of the film’s dark themes and visuals, Jogia deftly manages to keep a good balance where Door Mouse never feels too heavy and nihilistic. The comic book style animated scenes also positively add to the film, not only visually, but tonally. Make no mistake there are very dark themes but Door Mouse is also fun throughout. The film also ends in such a way that a sequel could be possible so perhaps audiences will meet Door Mouse again. A very stylistic and assured debut for Jogia.

★★★★


Drama, Mystery | USA, 2022 | 15 | Digital HD | 10th July 2023 (UK) | The Movie Partnership | Dir. Avan Jogia | Hayley Law, Keith Powers, Donal Logue, Famke Janssen


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