The November Man (2014) – Review

1 Star

The November Man is the first in a planned series of big-screen adaptations based on author Bill Granger’s long-running novels, featuring the main character Peter Devereaux. Aspirations of a franchise similar to the Bond or Bourne series are quickly dashed, the movie is bizarrely incoherent and distracted, it is both overly plotted and under-cooked. This is surely one of the year’s worst offerings, made more disappointing due to the presence of director Roger Donaldson behind the camera and former James Bond, Pierce Brosnan, in the lead role.

In attempting to form a synopsis, I had to reach back into the recesses of my mind’s eye to recall the mechanics of the formulaic story. That should give you a glimpse into the impact this picture had on me, and the total lack of interest it afforded. Peter Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) is a veteran agent for the C.I.A., as the movie starts he is in Montenegro with his protégé,Mason (Luke Bracey). The pair is there to perform an assassination, but Devereaux is concerned with Mason’s blossoming new romantic relationship. He warns the kid, as if quoting a screenplay manual, that love interests are used as bait and often wind up dead. So, Mason bails on the girl and the movie supplies up with a good pulpy start to what looks like a spy-noir thriller. Instead the story goes nowhere, bogging down in a revenge plot that has character’s double-crossing each other at an alarming rate.

After killing a child during a gun-fight Devereaux has retired to the coastal shores of Switzerland, only to be reactivated when he receives a distress call from a former lover living in Russia. The woman requests a meeting and claims she has valuable evidence that implicates the Russian president-elect in various atrocities. During the course of their rendezvous, she is killed and Deverauex is unleashed against the assailant, his former protegé’. Mixed into the fold is Alice (Olga Kurylenko), a woman who houses orphans and runaways, who also holds a grudge against the man running for control of Mother Russia.

Brosnan’s still got the looks and agility to pull of the subterfuge, suggesting his time as Bond was unfairly cut short. Former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko is serviceable in a route role, her character’s ‘secret’ is so transparent that the revel has no effect. Luke Bracey, a Chris Hemmsworth clone-minus the muscles, is so bland as to not even register in a role that should have been filled by a wild man. If they had just aged the kid, someone with the manic energy of say, Nicolas Cage, could really have run with it. There were times in The November Man when I was waiting for the script to catch up to things that were obvious to the audience, and other times when I need a flow-chart to figure out the shifting alliances.

Director: Roger Donaldson
Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Olga Kurylenko, Luke Bracey

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