Pierce Brosnan as Peter Devereaux
Luke Bracey as David Mason
Olga Kurylenko as Alice Fournier
Bill Smitrovich as Hanley
Amila Terzimehic as Alexa
Lazar Ristovski as Arkady Federov
Mediha Musliovic as Natalia Ulanova
Eliza Taylor as Sarah
Caterina Scorsone as Celia
Akie Kotabe as Meyers
Will Patton as Perry Weinstein
Patrick Kennedy as Edgar Simpson
Dragan Marinkovic as Denisov
Ben Willens as Agent Jones
Milos Timotijevic as Federov’s Chief of Staff
Dragan Dvojakovic as Ambassador
Tara Jevrosimovic as Lucy
Nina Mrdja as Mira Filipova (15 years)
Directed by Roger Donaldson
After a mission gone wrong, CIA agent Peter Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) is pretty much retired until years later when his wife is killed in another mission gone wrong and he’s pulled back onto the job when a Bosnian politician named Federov (Lazar Ristovski) plots to get rid of anyone who may know about his war crimes, particularly the rape of young women, including a witness Devereaux needs to find and protect before she’s also killed.
For those who enjoyed his four James Bond movies, the thought of Pierce Brosnan returning to action in a new potential series of spy thrillers is an exciting prospect, and with “The November Man,” Brosnan proves he still has the chops to pull off this type of character over a decade since his last Bond movie.
That doesn’t mean that his reunion with “Dante’s Peak” director Roger Donaldson (who also directed “The Bank Job” with Jason Statham) stands up to Brosnan’s Bond legacy and much of those problems lie in the weak screenplay and the way the story unfolds in a way that’s sometimes hard to follow.
We meet Brosnan’s Peter Devereux as he’s in the middle of a mission that’s about to go wrong as his protégé Mason (Luke Macey) accidentally shoots innocent bystanders. Years later, Devereux is retired but gets dragged back into the thick of things when his Russian ex-wife (also an agent) is killed during another mission gone wrong (That seems to be one of the recurring themes of the movie.) It turns out she was investigating a Chechen politician, who is trying to get rid of anyone aware of his criminal past. This includes a young teenager named Mira Filipova, who was taken by the former soldier after the murder of her parents. Devereux seeks the help of Olga Kurylenko’s Alice Fournier, who has also become a target, but Devereaux’s interference puts him in the sights of his CIA handler, who sends the more experienced Mason to stop his former mentor.
This isn’t Brosnan’s best performance as he often delves into scenery-chewing mode as he tries to give his character more of a heightened feel, while Luke Bracey seems like your typical good-looking young actor who you just know you’re going to see everywhere. Even so, the relationship between Devereaux and Mason and the scenes between the two actors is one of the film’s driving forces.
Likewise, Olga Kurylenko gives one of her better performances, one that allows her to stretch her dramatic muscles while also reminding the viewer how incredibly sexy she can be. It’s odd seeing another actress playing the Eastern European assassin that she’s played so well in the past, but it’s clear she’s beyond that point in her career.
Unfortunately, the misogyny runs rampant in the movie with many of the women being used merely for eye candy or as bullet fodder. In one scene, Devereux slices the leg of an innocent woman Mason had just started dating as an attempt to evade capture. His reasoning makes little sense and it seems a bit much, and it’s never explained or resolved why Devereaux goes to such extremes.
Donaldson still proves himself to be a skilled filmmaker in every respect, especially in terms of keeping the film moving at a brisk well-edited pace with great old-school practical car chases and stunts. Coming out so soon after Anton Corbijn’s “A Most Wanted Man,” a far more subtle attempt at a spy thriller, and even “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “The November Man” does feel somewhat dated at times and once the big twists (some more obvious than others) reveal themselves, everything gets tied together in a way that makes you realize how disjointed the film is.
The Bottom Line:
Make no mistake that “The November Man” has issues, but it also has some fun action scenes and ultimately one can see Brosnan doing more with the character if they manage to make the planned sequel happen.