Facebook Twitter

DOOR MOUSE: 3 STARS. “a stylized and melodramatic look at power dynamics.”

Echoes of 1980s indie film noir run deep throughout “Door Mouse,” a new, gritty mystery thriller starring Vancouver’s Hayley Law as a burlesque performer on a quest for justice.

Law is Mouse, a chain-smoking, part time comic book creator and full-time dancer at a seedy burlesque club run by the tough-as-nails Mama (Famke Janssen).

When some of her friends and fellow dancers go missing, one snatched from her home, another abducted, pushed into a limo never to be seen again, the police are apathetic, unable or unwilling to investigate the disappearance of “girls no one will miss.”

Looking for answers. Mouse recruits her friend Ugly (Keith Powers) to delve into the dark, sordid world of drug dealers, kidnapping and sex trafficking, where vulnerable women are sold to “rich and powerful monsters.”

“These are dangerous questions you’re asking Mouse,” warns a sleazy club owner. “If you don’t want to crash, stay in your lane.”

“Door Mouse” has style to burn. Actor-turned-director Avan Jogia wrings every dime out of his low budget, utilizing eye-catching camera angles, animation and an abrasive “wake ‘em up” soundtrack and music cues to create a film with comic book noir aesthetics, that owes a debt to 80s noirs like “Blood Simple” and cult hits like “Repo Man.”

The high style suits the story’s underworld backdrop, creating an uneasy atmosphere for Jogia’s morality play.

Populated by uneasy and often corrupt characters, “Door Mouse” boils down to a simple story of good vs. evil, of predators vs. prey. Jogia, who also wrote the script, belabors the point with dialogue that is often as melodramatic as the film is stylish. Lines like “You can only crawl on the ground so long before the dirt starts sticking to you,” sound ripped from an over-written soap opera script. Imagine the relish that Susan Lucci could have applied to those words. In this context, however, those dialogue flourishes feel unnecessarily theatrical.

“Door Mouse’s” stylized look at power dynamics, filtered through a genre lens, is compelling to a point, but bludgeons its central point, that its better to die with the sheep than eat sheep with the wolves, to the point of redundancy.

Comments are closed.