November (Gregory Harrison). 73 minutes. Opens Friday (August 19). For venues and times, see Movies, page 86. Rating: NN Rating: NN
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, how come the result is so often insultingly phony? Consider the now de rigueur "surprise" ending in a psychological thriller. Not any more it ain't.
So it is with November director Gregory Harrison , who admits to influences as bizarrely original as Alain Resnais's Last Year At Marienbad. The final product here is, well, iffy.
A non-linear film with echoes of Christopher Nolan's more assured Memento, November is the story of photographer Sophie's ( Courteney Cox, in a glammed-down, surprisingly subtle and effective turn) search for the truth about her boyfriend's ( James LeGros ) death in a convenience-store robbery gone wrong. It's told three ways, like a really distorted and depressing Groundhog Day (titled respectively Denial, Despair and Acceptance).
Sophie goes to a shrink, teaches class, dines with Mom and revisits her memory of that fateful November day.
The film aims to be a study of trauma and remembrance. Harrison and writer Benjamin Brand hope to prompt us to ask which version is a dream coloured by paranoia and guilt and which is true.
Sadly, the urgent question that arises while slogging through this gimmick in search of a story, even at a scant 73 minutes, is when does it end?