Combustible Celluloid
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With: Courteney Cox, James LeGros, Michael Ealy, Nora Dunn, Nick Offerman, Anne Archer
Written by: Benjamin Brand
Directed by: Greg Harrison
MPAA Rating: R for violence and some language
Running Time: 73
Date: 01/18/2004

November (2005)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Same Time, This Month

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Many recent Hollywood films have attempted to recapture the dreamlike weirdness generated in 2001 by puzzlebox films Memento and Mulholland Drive. The Final Cut and White Noise failed at this attempt, but fortunately, Greg Harrison's spooky little thriller November succeeds. It's no classic, but it has more in the way of brains than many of its fellows. Courteney Cox is excellent in a rare, subdued role as a photography teacher who goes through a series of scenarios after a violent experience at a convenience store. The episodes purposely cross over and contradict one another. In some of them, her husband (James LeGros) is killed, and in some, everything works out great. Time folds back in upon itself, leaving us to wonder if the whole film is a dream, or a hallucination or the vision of a dying brain. Refreshingly, November never lays all its cards on the table for a tidy third-act conclusion, leaving us to ponder its mysteries on our own. Harrison (Groove) makes brilliant use of off-screen noise as well as lighting and economic sets. The film is clearly modeled after "B" movies of the past with its modest budget, its compact running time and its brave foray into genre storytelling. The gorgeous Anne Archer co-stars as Cox's mother.

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