The Neo-Noir Thriller mimics comic book language very well

On paper, there’s a lot to love door mouseAnd Avan Jogia‘s (Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon CityAnd Zombieland: Double tap) feature output for the first time. The film can boast of a solid cast, an urban setting brimming with punk rock energy, and a slick art direction. But, door mouseIts biggest strength is its biggest flaw. This is because the movie draws from comic book language to build a mysterious story that mirrors the protagonist Mouse (Hayley Law) the passion of the mediator. While, in theory, this is a great concept, the comic book structure often hurts movie pacing, turning an exciting concept into a challenging viewing experience.

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door mouse It tells the story of Mouse, a young woman who works nights at a burlesque club run by Mama (Your mouth Jansen), a fierce lady who uses her bar as a haven for lost girls, where they can be who they want to be and make some money doing so. While Mouse puts on exciting performances for the audience, her dream is to work as a storyboard artist. So, after a long morning of sleep, she spends the afternoon drawing horror porn stories that she tries to sell at the local comic book store. Mouse’s life is cut short when one of Mama’s Girls mysteriously disappears in the middle of the night, setting off an investigation that will lead to some gut-wrenching discoveries.

The premise is strong, and it’s clear from the start how passionate Jogia is about comic books. As the movie goes by, a few frames of the comic book graphics overlap the screen, showing how carefully they’re framed door mouse It will fit perfectly into the blank page. Brave characters and settings for door mouse It will also make you feel right at home Frank Miller‘s Sin City being. However, while the comic book gimmicks help give the film a unique aesthetic, they also drag the story’s pace down.

Image via Gravitas Ventures

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While superhero comic books focus on fast-paced action and conflicts, the industry goes beyond Marvel and DC. When it comes to picture books that tell investigative stories, the artwork is drawn to zoomed-in visuals and heavy dialogue, while each character’s inner universe explodes onto the pages through narrative boxes, the only way to explain a character’s sense of immutability. Pictures. To emulate the comic book feel, door mouse We also value close-ups above anything else, and constantly hear the mouse tell its thoughts. And while we can commend Jogia’s commitment to bits, strategy makes them, too door mouse Lose some of the dynamism of cinema language.

In picture books, the static framing of each scene is a technical limitation, as until now, we haven’t figured out how to make the pictures move on paper. However, comic books have their own glamorous element to make up for their limitations, gutter, aka white space between panels. As each painting represents a still moment in time, readers’ eyes are trained to fill in the space between two pictures with their imaginations, making Gutter the magical place where everything can happen. In short, rock bottom is what allows us to read comic books and still feel fluid. The film has no gutter because there are no empty spaces between scenes – thank God for that! So, door mouseStatic framing contributes to the unnerving sense that the film is moving more slowly than it could.

door mouse It wanted to be a comic book so much that Jogia split the story into six issues, with the average size of the story arc in the middle. Over the past few decades, artists have learned to stick to the six-issue format because it’s easier to rework into a single graphic novel after periodic publication, making it an industry staple. And just like the graphic novel, every issue of door mouse It works like a stand-alone chapter, with a prologue that helps the viewer understand the main plot rhythms, offers a fresh challenge, and has a climactic conclusion that leaves behind a major problem to be resolved through the next issue.

Mouse door Famke Janssen
Image via Gravitas Ventures

The episodic structure works wonders for a medium in which each chapter hits the store on a monthly basis, but in a movie format, it’s another element that compromises pacing. A movie is made to be consumed all at once, and the presentation-struggle-climax-cliffhanger loop makes it difficult to stay connected to the story. Could door mouse It would work best as a TV series, where the audience can pause between issues and come back later for a new adrenaline rush when a new climax hits. But, door mouseThe 2D animated action sequences show just how beautiful the story can be in a comic book.

Every time we have a chase or a fight door mouseThe film shifts from live-action to 2D. These animated scenes contrast with the rest of the film, as they are fast-paced, bloody, and dynamic. The art style used in the cartoon checks all the boxes on the list of great comic book art, and as such, they serve as a reminder of how to get better. door mouse We can feel it if we read it instead of watching it.

In spite of all his faults, door mouse An interesting cinematic experience. And we must commend Jogia for his dedication to comic book language. There are few movies that reproduce the feeling of reading a comic book so well, perhaps none better door mouse. There is still a reason for this, as different languages ​​require different technical choices to keep the audience engaged. So, even if door mouse Jogia proves to be a talented director, and each viewer’s mileage may vary depending on how much he enjoys the film’s obsession with imitating comic book language.

evaluation: c +

door mouse Coming to theaters and on demand January 13th.

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