November Movie Review
Employing feverish flashes of iconic imagery to unsettlingeffect (as Aronofsky did in "Pi" and "Requiemfor a Dream"), director Greg Harrison buildsa non-linear storyline (like Lynch's "Lost Highway" and "MulhollandDrive") of seemingly conflicting memoriesthat keeps circling back to that fateful day, its events taking differentshapes each time.
Played with frazzled intensity by Courtney Cox-Arquette,the woman is an art-school photography teacher whose world turns disorientinglycold, foggy, gray, loud and claustrophobic (kudos to cinematographer NancySchreiber and composer Lew Baldwin) as she copes with grief and guilt thatseem 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 storeon the night of the murder turns up in her slide carousel during a classlecture. Then her TV begins inexplicably broadcasting security-camera footagefrom the night of the shootings.
Harrison (whose debut was the moment-capturing undergroundrave movie "Groove")and screenwriter Benjamin Brand weave flashbacks of Cox's troubled romancewith the dead boyfriend (played by the underrated JamesLeGros, "Scotland,PA") into their outwardly chaotic timeline,and deftly use them to help slowly peel away some layers of confusion whileapplying new layers elsewhere. But in the end, there is a clarity one couldnever have imagined halfway through the film's brief but potent 73-minuteruntime.
The one notable weakness of "November" is thatit's the kind of surreal story in which getting ahead of the characterscould ruin the suspense. Anyone whose mind begins clicking puzzle piecesinto 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 machinationswill be rewarded with a superbly unnerving mystery.