By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
Smooth and debonair, Pierce Brosnan is best known for his portrayal of Agent 007 in four of the Bond movies. While Daniel Craig, with his no-nonsense, grittier approach, has taken over that role, the 61 year-old Brosnan proves he can still hold his own as an espionage badass in The November Man. Brosnan may be in his early sixties, but the actor has aged well and remained fit enough to handle tough action roles. In this latest spy thriller, he does portray a retired C.I.A. operative, but his character, too, can keep up with the best of the younger agents and is willing to get his hands dirty whenever necessary.
Brosnan plays Peter Devereaux, code name: The November Man. After working several years for the agency, Devereaux has finally settled for a quiet and peaceful life raising his daughter, Lucy (Tara Jevrosimovic). However, his hiatus comes to an end when an esteemed colleague (Mediha Musilovic) needs his help. Devereaux gets dragged into a Russian conspiracy involving the U.S. government, a major Russian official (Lazar Ristovski), and a witness named Alice Fournier (Olga Kurylenko). Devereaux’s involvement puts him at odds with his former C.I.A. colleagues, including his one time student Mason (Luke Bracey).
Though The November Man doesn’t bring anything dynamically new to cinema or espionage stories, it still is a thrilling, action-packed ride. Based on Bill Granger’s novel, There Are No Spies, which is part of a series of November Man books, director Roger Donaldson and writers Michael Finch and Karl Gajdusek may have started a new film franchise for fans of this genre. The story only has a few surprises up its sleeves, but often plays it safely by relying on conventional storytelling techniques and spy movie clichés. Still, the adventure has its exciting moments and Brosnan still seems quite at home portraying a calculating killing machine.
Brosnan’s James Bond often comes across as overly smug and his Bond movies sometimes feel a bit silly, and that’s what makes his portrayal of Peter Devereaux more refreshing. Devereaux is smooth and debonair, but will get the job done even if that job gets bloody and nasty. One particular scene comes to mind when considering how cold and ruthless his character can be. I will not spoil it for my readers, but I will say that the moment left me in awe. Brosnan pulls off Devereaux’s ugly side beautifully.
The film also features fine performances by Will Patton (Perry Weinstein), Luke Bracey (Mason), Olga Kurylenko (Fournier), Bill Smitrovich (Hanley), and Caterina Scorsone (Celia). And I would have to say fine is the perfect word to describe this movie. The movie has its rousing moments, but does lack some originality in its style and story content. Nevertheless, The November Man is worth watching, just probably not worth the cost of a full-priced ticket at the theater.