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November (R)

Release Date: July 22nd, 2005 (NYC-Landmark Sunshine Cinema and AMC Empire 25) by Sony Pictures Classics.
The Cast: Courtney Cox, James LeGros, Michael Ealy, Nora Dunn, Nick Offerman, Anne Archer Directed by Gregg Harrison.

BASIC PREMISE: Sophie (Cox) witnesses her husbandís murder and tries to find his killer through mysterious photographs taken at the scene by an unknown person.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The plot structure is very disjointed and confusing, as the viewer is presented with three different versions of the plot. The only reason why this film is called November is because each of the three versions takes place in the month of November. The characters and the murder remain the same, though. The cinematography during each version is exceptionally good in setting a distinct tone. The musical score is also effective. However, the gimmicky plot becomes increasingly irritating and even confusing because nothing really becomes clear and there are no surprises. It is nice to watch Courtney Cox stretch her acting abilities in this mystery thriller, but the weak script does not let her go far enough. There have been numerous better attempts at messing with chronology to tell a murder story, namely Mulholland Drive and Memento. Both of those films made a more sense as they progressed and were very re-watchable. However, this film feels weak in its plot, which, in essence, is too simple, contrived, and even rushed for one to be engaged in it. There is not one tiny bit of humor or wit that lightens up the film's dark subject matter. Nonetheless, there are a few amazing visual and sound effects that make the film look and sound good, but there is not much else to be entertained by.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: It is somewhat thought provoking to try to piece together all of the similarities between the three versions of the same story. However, the truth is so muddled that it just makes you end up with a headache. Perhaps in real life the truth can also be muddled, but it would be nice if the journey to find it would not be so depressing and unsatisfying as it is in this film.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Minimal character development and a very gimmicky plot structure.


THE BOTTOM LINE: A disjointed, gimmicky film with a somewhat welcomed serious performance by Courtney Cox and amazing visuals and sound effects, but its weak script never brings any of its characters to life and has no humor or surprises. The running time is just 73 minutes, so, fortunately, it does not overstay its welcome.


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