Overall Grade: (B-)
A solid espionage thriller with enough action and a James Bond’ish Pierce Brosnan, that make up for a story-line with a clouded third-act.
Devereaux (Brosnon), a former CIA operative is coaxed into a rescue mission by a longtime friend in the agency. When things go wrong Devereaux will find himself on the run and pursued by his former pupil Mason (Bracey). The stakes are elevated when Devereaux realizes he is stuck in the middle of a growing conflict between two countries and an international operation headed by the CIA, targeting a would-be Russian president-elect.
I really enjoyed this film and with a rather jumbled and confusing plot at times, I tend to think I enjoyed this film more for it reminding me of what the four James Bond films could have been. But as it was this film did deliver plenty of action, suspense and intrigue I had hopes for going in. The story starts out fast and quickly sets the scene for the plot to begin its evolution. Throughout there is fun and exciting foot chases,car chases, loads of gun-play, and some hand-to-hand fighting to keep the adrenaline at high levels. With many exotic locations and solid cinematography the backdrops pop visually and make for a nice international feel.
Brosnan was entertaining, and surprisingly enough, at his older age, fit the role of bad-ass agent much better than he did when he was younger. Whether that was a result of his performances or the material he had to work with, is for another days discussion. In this film he was in control, believable and highly capable pulling off what the script asked of him (a la Liam Neeson) and he easily conveyed the protagonist in textbook Brosnan-fashion.
Luke Bracey was a nice counter to Brosnan. They pulled off great chemistry and Bracey in particular conveyed all the animosity for Brosnan’s character that the story-line needed to fuel the tense emotions between the two. Something that helped make their chases and fight-sequences that much more thrilling and exciting. Nicely countering him was Brosnan with great delivery and charm as he endlessly reminds his pupil in various ways that he was the teacher for a reason. It served a nice battle of age and wisdom, versus youth and stamina.
The script as a whole was decent, a little overly complicated at times and not clearly developed in all the dialogue, instead coming in the form of small tidbits and stuff you would need to pick up on in very quick conversations. It had a little too much going on, or at least gave off the impression possibly because the sequencing was slightly unorganized. It did wrap itself up decently and for the most part was a compelling tale although not as tight and crisp as say, the newer Bond film’s, or the Bourne series.
The cast was very good, Olga Kurylenko was solid as the leading lady in her performance. With the script involving her character deeper into the plot she was definitely more then just the leading lady following the lead actor around the whole time. Her character was integral to the plot of the film and her delivery of some nicely tense and dramatic moments were a great addition to the overall enjoyment.
“The November Man” is not the best of espionage-thrillers but it was still relatively entertaining. The pace is fast and regardless of maybe trying too much in the story-line there was a couple nice plot twists to connect things. Brosnan is fun to watch and with this performance don’t be surprised to see his action-film resurgence. Anyone who wants a fun international thriller that gives you a little of everything would get some mild enjoyment out of this – at least.