Review: ‘The November Men’

The November Men is the ultimate in conspiratorial presidential assassination films. The slyly comic saga marks the welcome return of filmmaker Paul Williams, who carved out a niche two decades ago with such films as Out of It and Dealing. It works well as both thriller and black comedy.

The November Men is the ultimate in conspiratorial presidential assassination films. The slyly comic saga marks the welcome return of filmmaker Paul Williams, who carved out a niche two decades ago with such films as Out of It and Dealing. It works well as both thriller and black comedy.

The filmmaking is wild and unconventional, as befits the subject matter. Noted Oliver Stone-like cineaste Arthur Gwenlyn (Williams) is mad as hell there hasn’t been an assassin from the left in recent American history. In the months leading up to the 1992 US elections, he rolls up his sleeves, mortgages the house and adopts guerrilla tactics to get his little epic off the ground.

His girlfriend and collaborator, Elizabeth (Leslie Bevis), isn’t even particularly sure he isn’t serious about taking the fiction into a more realistic arena. Duggo (James Andronica), a disgraced marine, is horrified about the movie plot but desperate for any kind of work. Others in the cast and crew appear to have different and personal scenarios in mind.

None of this would work without the fierce, airtight wacko logic of Gwenlyn’s pursuit. Up to the very last moment, one remains unsure whether the movie’s assassination script is only a movie or some horrible extreme of ego and dementia.

The November Men

Production

Rohd House/Sun Lion. Director Paul Williams; Producer Rodney Byron Ellis, Paul Williams; Screenplay James Andronica; Camera Susan Emerson; Editor Chip Brooks; Music Scott Thomas Smith

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1993. Running time: 98 MIN.

With

P.W. Williams [= Paul Williams] James Andronica Leslie Bevis Beau Starr Rod Ellis Robert Davi
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