The November Man – Movie Review

The November Man  – Doesn’t hit the target





A by the numbers spy thriller which had potential but gets predictable along the way. The film directed by Roger Donaldson ( The World’s Fastest Indian,Thirteen Days, The Recruit ) misses the target.

Don’t get me wrong, The Novemeber Man has it’s moments. It’s a decent commercial spy thriller carried on the very than capable shoulders of the spy expert Pierce Brosnan. Like an old wine Brosnan just gets better with age at playing a spy. The Novemeber Man has him playing a raw, no nonsense spy quite unlike the James Bond he had portrayed. The treatment of the film gives an opportunity to Pierce Brosnan to showcase his spy acting skills in a slightly different avatar.


The film starts out with CIA veteran Peter Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan),five years into retirement, being called back to extract a Russian agent,his former lover, who is now a close associate of Federov, a powerful man about to become the next President of Russia. The extraction mission goes wrong leaving the ex-lover dead, and we realize there are some threads that do not tie up about the mission. Devereaux has a confrontation with former protege Mason (Luke Bracey). This sets up the mentor – protégé confrontation for the rest of the film. Now on his own and being chased by his own agency and the Russians, Devereaux drags a relief worker Alice (Olga Kurylenko) on his quest for the truth.


If you have seen films that deal with spies and their craft a few questions for you :
Possible Spoilers , but if you can guess the answers I just saved 2 hours of your time.

If the spy gets betrayed, who is it likely – The bad guy from the other side or …
If the spy has a protégé, what happens when they face each other …
Should a spy fall in love …
Should a spy question what he is asked to do …

The last one always come across as taking the audience for granted. Be it a soldier who has been fighting for years or a spy who has played the game, after years of being a hard nut they sudden realization to do the right thing. Where does the game of espionage end and saving the world really begin.

The film is let down by a predictable screenplay. An unnecessary sub plot about a daughter being kidnapped distracts from the actual story of the war mongering men in their quest to power.

The big issue with this film is the character arc of Devereaux doesn’t offer much. The hero of the film is the same guy at the end that he started out as – a great spy. Any relationships added during the course of the film doesn’t change his fundamental world view. The protégé Mason on the other hand has a better character who during the chase – after Devereaux and Alice learns – to love, question the orders given to him and do the right thing possibly finally matching up to the standards set expected by his mentor Devereaux. If only the acting by Luke Bracey could do justice to the character offered to him. Pierce Brosnan excels in the limited dimensions his character has to offer. Olga mildly impresses in her role as essentially the damsel in distress, and while being the central character of the film has limited potential to do much.

This film lot like a bullet grazes the target but misses the mark.