Mickey (2009)

Description (from the MICKEY Facebook Page):
Mickey is a down on his luck boxer who stumbles on a unique opportunity to become an unlikely hero.

Hugh Elliot as Mickey, Jessica Osbourne as Courtney, Joseph West as Jake

Special Features:
None (Screener)

Written and Directed by Dusty McGowan

MICKEY is hard to classify and hard to compare.  It is a low-budget short (20:25 minutes), shot in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Often that description would mean “zombie movie” or “campy comedy” or “horror,” but MICKEY is no where close to any of those.  MICKEY is the story of a little-person boxer (see, right away we’re talking odd conventions here) who is given the opportunity to rescue an imprisoned peep show girl (odd and odd-er).  As if that set up isn’t odd enough, the film is told almost completely without dialogue; there is no exposition setting up back story, there is no guy saying “well, what’cha gotta do is,” there is just the story, unfolding.

We start off with just a little bit of explanation that Mickey is a boxer who regularly fights (and is beaten up by) normal-sized opponents, and he’s inclined to carry a jar of coins around.  And with that minimal set up, the film tells us “now, go!” and gets on with the story.  I’m not going to go into the story too much, because it is great to watch it become on the screen; I don’t want to summarize it here and have you really know what’s going on.  Suffice to say Mickey’s the good guy, there’s a girl, and there’s a bad guy, everything you need for an odd little love story.

I realize I’ve used the word “odd” a lot in this review, but that’s what resonates with me after watching the film.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean in any way to equate odd with bad, because MICKEY is not a bad film at all – in fact, it’s pretty amazing – but it is just a very odd film.  I can’t remember that last time I saw a movie that had so little dialogue to propel its plot, so few words to tell its story; I can tell you for sure I’ve never seen a movie with a little-person boxer as the protagonist.  Odd.  Beautifully odd.

On the technical side, MICKEY is quite an achievement for an independent short feature.  The opening few minutes of background are shot in black and white, immediately making me think of RAGING BULL (might just be the b&w + boxing).  The video quality is amazing, the cinematography (by Corey Weintraub) is superb, and the composition of the shots and use of focus, negative space, lighting, etc., all make MICKEY come off as a big-budget production, not an Albuquerque locally-made short film.  When the film catches up to “now” and switches from b&w to color, the quality is still very good, but it betrays its low-budget roots a little bit more; for whatever reason the b&w just feels more “expensive” to me.  The sound quality over all is very good, some of the foley and background sounds are not quite up to the same level of polish that the images gleam with on screen, but it is never in any way poor enough to be an issue.  I mostly noticed the sound in the opening fight scenes, where the “crowd noise” looped enough times for me to notice that it was a sample.

Overall, MICKEY is an achievement that any director should be and would be proud of, but the fact that it is (I believe) Dusty McGowan’s directorial debut makes it just that much more awesome to behold.  MICKEY is a beautifully-odd film that shows the viewer love heals all and does so without any cheap conventions to get its point across.  I really look forward to seeing what else Dusty has up his sleeve next.

Overall 8 / 10

MICKEY is not on the IMDB

MICKEY is not for sale

MICKEY site: http://www.mickeymovie.com or http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mickey/169662674194

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