Projections - Movie Reviews


November


Starring:
Courteney Cox, James LeGros, Anne Archer,
Nora Dunn, Michael Ealy and Nick Offerman


Rated: R
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: July 22, 2005 Released by: Sony Pictures Classics

A woman's trauma is the source of a cinematic abstract art experience that ultimately loses its way with the viewer in the very low-budgeted November starring Courteney Cox (The Longest Yard). For a while, some interest comes from this production which is a nice change of pace for the actress finding new roles after Monica on the hit sitcom"Friends."

The title of the film by Greg Harrison (Groove) comes from the month when Hugh (James LeGros), the boyfriend of Cox's Sophie, is gunned down in a convenience store while attempting to get her some chocolate.

Harrison worked with lenser Nancy Schreiber, who used a mini-DV from Panasonic, to assimilate Sophie's struggle of her memories and emotions with the art of her occupation, a photographer. This psychological thriller written by Benjamin Bland, born and raised in New London, Connecticut, replays the events around that fateful night, exposing the mystery like a photograph. But the blurring of the subliminal and reality, while done creatively with the digital equipment is more style than substance, even if Cox's introspective portrait plays well against type.

The non-linear story suggests alternate realities as visions from Sophie's guilt and grief appear. Cox's physical appearance makes her more plain-looking with glasses, no make-up and seven inches cut off her hair. Her mother (Anne Archer) whom she meets for lunch says she has an "underachiever's haircut." Sophie continues on teaching photography at a local LA art college and her therapist (Nora Dunn) helps draw out some of the paranoia that will bring out some of the subjective images.

Harrison, who also edits, gets some able support from Michael Ealy (Barbershop) as Sophie's lover and Nick Offerman as the cop who finds out the origin of a slide which appears in Sophie's class depicting the convenience store on the night of the murder.

The idea of refraction and the color palette, especially red and green, adds to the ambiguity with contrasting clarity from the claustrophobic to the openness of a photo shoot. The subtle differences in each interpretation has a free-associative moody quality from the music by Lew Baldwin to the visual effects. However, this surreal cryptic cinema verite doesn't engage as much as it intends, and Cox's portrait of a woman eager to understand the truth reaches out but never transcends the aesthetics of a demanding production and experimental, fractured narrative.

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