A tricky approach to storytelling and an arty style are the whole show in “November,” yet another fling at a “Memento”-inspired mystery film. Commendably assembled on a tiny budget, this indie isn’t as smart as it thinks it is.
|Wearing: A one-trick idea from the “Memento” school, about the shifting realities for a woman (Courteney Cox) whose boyfriend is shot in a convenience store hold-up. Even at 73 minutes this one wears out its welcome. Rated: R rating is for violence, language.
Now showing: Metro.
The movie circles obsessively around an event on a November evening. A couple, Sophie (Courteney Cox) and Hugh (James Le Gros), stop off at a convenience store on the way home. As Sophie sits in the car outside, Hugh is shot dead in a hold-up.
Sophie’s grief is interrupted by the arrival of an inexplicable photograph. A teacher of photography, she knows all the theories about the art of photographs, but she can’t understand how a shot of her sitting in the car outside the store came into existence.
Screenwriter Benjamin Brand then jerks us into another version of the same story – with a few differences. Same convenience store, another photograph, but everything’s slightly off.
This is the film’s agenda, as we shuffle through different realities. Since the different versions of the story are headlined with words associated with “On Death and Dying” author Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (“Denial,” “Acceptance”), we might guess this film is death-stricken from the start.
But most savvy moviegoers will figure out what’s going on well before “November” reaches the end of its amazingly brief 73 minutes, at which point the idea clunks along to its conclusion.
Director Greg Harrison varies his photographic look in the different segments, a literal effect that doesn’t disguise the trick. He’s better at getting the weird unease that Roman Polanski created in his early films – unexplained noises and disturbing phone calls in the night.
Trying to shed her “Friends” skin, Courteney Cox suffers mightily for the cause, but not very convincingly. She still comes across as the girl from “Friends,” but with eyeglasses and a less professional hairdo. And she shouldn’t get extra points for taking a risk on iffy material. We’re told that a high-priced TV performer is to be applauded for getting down and dirty in a cheap indie (shot in 15 days), but isn’t this what actors are supposed to do?