The November Man (2014)
Peter Deveraux (Pierce Brosnan) is an ex-CIA agent living in quite retirement in Switzerland. All that changes when his former handler Hanley (Bill Smitrovich) shows up out of the blue to convince Peter to come out of retirement in order to extract an asset from Russia. An asset with whom Peter at one time had an intimate relationship. When everything goes wrong with and the asset is taken out by the CIA, Deveraux goes rouge in an attempt to solve the puzzle with only the name Mira Philipova. He locates a single witness, Alice Fournier (Olga Kurylenko), who is the only clue to Mira’s whereabouts. While protecting Alice, Peter must dodge is former protegé David Mason (Luke Bracey) who is sent to kill him and unravel the conspiracy as to why everyone wants Mira dead. Starring Lazar Risstovski, Mediha Musliovic, Eliza Taylor, Caterina Scorsone, Akie Kotabe, Will Patton, Patrick Kennedy, Dragan Marinkovic, Nina Mrdja, Tara Jevrosimovic.
The November Man plays on the strengths of its star Brosnan who has little trouble reclaiming his role as killer spy but the film itself lacks the luster of more recent films of the genre and so will find its way into the film annal as just another generic spy thriller.
Let me just get straight to the point the major issue is that this film is having an identity crisis. There are moments it wants to be James Bond and others it acts like the Jason Bourne series. However, it never successfully accomplishes either leaving it somewhere in between which isn’t a very good place to be. On top of which the political agenda of the film and the sometimes glib dialogue and scenes add a whole new layer of confusion. There are moments where I simply wanted to yell at the screen, “choose one already will ya!” Not that doing so would accomplish anything, but you get my point. And if that weren’t enough the thriller story isn’t so thrilling. Of course it doesn’t help that I figured out the not so subtle twist to the story well before it even begins to reveal itself. This is a bad habit of mine but honestly it wasn’t too challenging…another flaw.
Brosnan is the only one to make any impression out of all the characters and actors. He is everything you expect, just a little older and grayer. True this isn’t his best work as a spy but his performance won’t disappoint fans of him and of the genre. I was hoping that Olga’s character Alice would take on a stronger role as the movie progressed but she ends up the helpless female like so many women in spy films.
There was a lot of potential for The November Man had they chosen a path in terms of spy genre and perhaps developed the back story and characters surrounding Deveraux more but alas it is not so. In the end it is just a generic spy flick where it’s all about the shooting, killing and the getaway. Not one I would recommend you see in theaters but if you are Brosnan fan you might grab it on Netflix in a few months time. Otherwise, just don’t bother because The November Man won’t thrill you on any level.
6/10 Stars – Brosnan was always a convincing spy but there sadly isn’t much else this film has to offer.
Pierce Brosnan hasn’t been relevant in quite some time. Several years ago after he stopped playing James Bond, he got the rights to making The November Man but it took him until 2014 to get it released. Was it worth it? Did it feel Bond-like? To answers these questions, let me make a comparison. The November Man feels much like other movies such as Jack Ryan, Jack Reacher, Mission Impossible: Ghost protocol, and The Bourne Identity. What do all of these movies have in common? Well for starters they are all good and entertaining! They are all action based with levels of suspense and espionage. They aren’t flashy and don’t let the flare of Hollywood take over. What this means is if you like more realistic films like I mentioned above, than you will find this movie interesting and entertaining. However, if you need the explosions and flare of a Michael Bay film for instance, than this will be too thinky for you and you won’t keep up. I’m not saying there is that much wrap your head around like you might in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy or The Most Wanted Man, but it will need you to pay attention for sure. At the end of the day, I think Pierce Brosnan is pasted his prime and another actor could have drawn more attention to this film, but if you sit down and watch it, you will enjoy it, if you like this kind of movie that is.
7/10 Stars – A realistic espionage thriller that is both entertaining and thinky at the same time!