Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Luke Bracey, Olga Kurylenko, Bill Smitrovich
Directed By: Roger Donaldson
Written By: Michael Finch, Karl Gajdusek
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 48 min
Pierce Brosnan is not James Bond, starring in a spy action thriller called The November Man, not based on a novel written Ian Fleming. Which turns out to be a shame, because even Brosnan’s worst outing as the popular British spy (Die Another Day), was more entertaining and made more sense than this.
The November Man, aka Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan), named as such because, and I quote, ‘when it passes through nothing is left alive.’ What? Gets caught up in a huge conspiracy involving a candidate for the Russian presidency, his ex-girlfriend, the CIA, and a single witness that could ‘blow this thing wide open!’ Yeah, this movie is loaded with that flavor of clichéd dialog!
Added to this convoluted mix is a protegé of Devereaux’s, CIA agent Mason (Luke Bracey), and a sub plot about their relationship. A cat and mouse kind of thing, as they swap insults about age and inexperience while trying to kill each other. Not that Mason ever once seemed like a credible threat to Devereaux anyway.
The November Man in my estimation tries to cover too much ground, and as a result not one element of this film seems very well developed. If they’d focused on Devereaux’s and Mason’s relationship more, and built the story off the intriguing opening mission they had, this film might have worked. If they’d focused more on Devereaux’s family connections, and the conflicts it creates with his work for the CIA, this movie might have worked. Though 3 Days to Kill did explore this angle on the spy thriller earlier this year. Even a purely action orientated movie that focused on The November Man’s central conspiracy plot, and put Brosnan in an Aston Martin wearing a nice suit – would have worked better! Some might cry foul at the blatant Bond connections, but at least we’d be entertained.
The trailer I saw sells this as a conflict between a master and student spy. That element however, is not the central theme in this movie at all. The action isn’t filmed all that well and resorts to excessive shaking of the camera to ‘put’ you in the action. The film earns its R rating with plenty of violent encounters, drug use and some nudity.
All the foreign locations are nicely shot, but a HD rental at home will service this film well enough. If you don’t want to wait, then save some cash and take in a matinée showing.
Alice (Olga Kurylenko), a young woman who teams up with Devereaux to expose the political shenanigans, is chased by an assassin. She gets the upper hand on her pursuer by hitting the professional killer in the head with a shovel. It was the only moment in the movie that made me laugh out loud!