Sunday, October 05, 2014

The November Man

Year: 2014
Director: Roger Donaldson
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Luke Bracey, Olga Kurylenko, Bill Smitrovich, Will Patton, Eliza Taylor

Plot: A retired CIA operative is called back in on a mission with personal entanglements, only to find himself in a cat and mouse game with his former protege that involves high ranking CIA officials and the next Russian president.

Review: A spy thriller involving former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan? That alone would pique anyone's interest, knowing what Brosnan is capable of as an action man. It's unfortunate however that it falls short of expectations.

Brosnan plays Peter Devereaux, an ex CIA agent called back in on a mission that involves extracting his former lover from Russia. However the mission goes south, and not only does she wind up on the wrong end of a bullet, Devereaux learns that his former apprentice, Mason is the one who pulled the trigger. Then he finds out that she has information about the next Russian president that could end his campaign, and it involves people whom Devereaux used to work for.

The last time Roger Donaldson directed a CIA type thriller, it was The Recruit, which was interesting as far as spy thrillers go. While The November Man has a lot of potential, Donaldson doesn't quite use it effectively. The action sequences are decent enough and the feel of a spy thriller movie is there, but it failed to impress me as much as I hoped. It starts off well enough but begins to lose its way at the half mark, and then races to a messy and rushed ending which doesn't quite satisfactorily wrap the film up.

Acting wise, Brosnan at least is in top form here. Aside from Liam Neeson and Denzel Washington (who both have films currently running now), you can't do better than having Brosnan in this role of a retired spy getting back in the game. The same can't be said however for Luke Bracey as Mason. Bracey resembles a younger Richard Roxburgh, only not as charming. Bracey is quite bland actually, which is a pity. Olga Kurylenko shows up as the pretty face for the film, and being a former Bond girl, she fits right in.

The film also has a couple of other problems, one being the choppy storytelling in the second half, which threw me off the story for a bit. The other problem is a scene where Brosnan and Bracey are face to face with a woman in between, and here the former almost seemed like the villain all of a sudden. The relationship between the two men was poorly explored, which robbed any opportunity for the audience to understand them better, and as to why they do what they do.

The November Man isn't a bad film, in fact it's decent. I just wish Donaldson tightened it up better, then we would have something really cool here. (6/10)

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