November movie review, Greg Harrison, Courtney Cox-Arquette, James LeGros, Michael Ealy, Nora Dunn. Review by Rob Blackwelder ©SPLICEDwire
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A scene from 'November'
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Courtesy Photo
3 stars
73 minutes | Rated: R
LIMITED: Friday, July 29, 2005
Directed by Greg Harrison

Starring Courtney Cox-Arquette, James LeGros, Michael Ealy, Nora Dunn, Matthew Carey, Brittany Ishibashi, Nick Offerman, Amir Talai, Robert Wu, Anne Archer

Read our interview with James LeGros James LeGros (2002)

  • Greg Harrison
  • Courtney Cox-Arquette
  • James LeGros
  • Michael Ealy
  • Nora Dunn

  •  LINKS for this film
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    Beset by grief, a woman's disorienting memories of a murder bleed into reality in unnerving, surreal thriller

    By Rob Blackwelder

    Something akin to a dialed-down Darren Aronofsky thriller -- with a lot of David Lynch thrown in -- "November" dives headlong into the unraveling, despondent psyche of a woman whose boyfriend has been killed in a convenience store robbery while she waited in a car outside.

    Employing feverish flashes of iconic imagery to unsettling effect (as Aronofsky did in "Pi" and "Requiem for a Dream"), director Greg Harrison builds a non-linear storyline (like Lynch's "Lost Highway" and "Mulholland Drive") of seemingly conflicting memories that keeps circling back to that fateful day, its events taking different shapes each time.

    Played with frazzled intensity by Courtney Cox-Arquette, the woman is an art-school photography teacher whose world turns disorientingly cold, foggy, gray, loud and claustrophobic (kudos to cinematographer Nancy Schreiber and composer Lew Baldwin) as she copes with grief and guilt that seem to manifest in headaches, stomach pains and fainting spells.

    But her reality -- or perhaps just her perception of it -- really begins to twist when a mysterious photo taken outside the store on the night of the murder turns up in her slide carousel during a class lecture. Then her TV inexplicably begins broadcasting security-camera footage from the night of the shootings.

    Harrison (whose debut was the moment-capturing underground rave movie "Groove") and screenwriter Benjamin Brand weave flashbacks of Cox's troubled romance with the dead boyfriend (played by the underrated James LeGros, "Scotland, PA") into their outwardly chaotic timeline, and deftly use them to help slowly peel away some layers of confusion while applying new layers elsewhere. But in the end, there is a clarity one could never have imagined halfway through the film's brief but potent 73-minute runtime.

    The one notable weakness of "November" is that it's the kind of surreal story in which getting ahead of the characters could ruin the suspense. Anyone whose mind begins clicking puzzle pieces into place -- intentionally, habitually or through an inadvertent epiphany -- will likely not get caught up in the distorted ambiance of discombobulation. But those who give themselves over to Harrison's compelling machinations will be rewarded with a superbly unnerving mystery.

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