There's less than meets the eye in this tricky psychological thriller, one of a long line of mess-with-your-head brain ticklers in which all is not as it seems. One fateful November 7, Los Angeles photography teacher Sophie (Courteney Cox) asks her boyfriend, Hugh (James LeGros), to make a late-night candy stop at grungy Lolo's Market, a corner convenience store in a dicey neighborhood. Sophie waits in the car while Hugh goes inside, moments before a hopped-up gunman bursts in and kills everyone in the store. Tormented by shattering headaches, Sophie pours out her woes to Dr. Fayn (Nora Dunn), who teases out the admission that Sophie's headaches began before Hugh's death — in fact, they started right around the same time as Sophie's affair with coworker Jesse (Michael Ealy) did. But that has no effect on the weird goings-on — menacing phone calls, bloody visions and a color slide of Sophie's car parked outside the convenience store on the night of the robbery that turns up in a student's class-project presentation — continue, culminating in Sophie's gory crack-up in front of the bathroom mirror. But maybe that's not the way the story played out: Benjamin Brand's script takes the events of November 7 out for two more go-rounds. Like a gloomy RUN LOLA RUN (1998), it puts the same characters — Hugh and Sophie, Sophie's mother (Anna Archer), Dr. Frayn, the doomed storekeeper and his son, the down-to-earth cop (Nick Offerman) — through variations on the same events, piling on the creepy details and, unfortunately, telegraphing the "surprise" ending long before it actually ends. Each rehash opens with a stark, one-word intertitle — "Denial," "Despair" and "Acceptance" — which raises the terrifying possibility of five variants in the offing, in deference to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross' stages of grief; the fact that it stops at three is a relief. Inexpensively shot on digital video, everything looks great in the ominously murky, grayish-green way popularized by SE7EN (1995). But there's nothing much under the mold and misery; as the no-nonsense cop opines of Sophie's chicly out-of-focus photos, it's all too arty for its own good.
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- Released: 2005
- Rating: R
- Review: There's less than meets the eye in this tricky psychological thriller, one of a long line of mess-with-your-head brain ticklers in which all is not as it seems. One fateful November 7, Los Angeles photography teacher Sophie (Courteney Cox) asks her boyfrie… (more)