A vague Bond/Bourne spy type thriller here based on a series of ‘November Man’ novels by Bill Granger. It may not do anything spectacular to smash out of the genre and in fact typical settings and spy cliches are a major pitfall but on the whole I enjoyed this film, really I did. It’s quick on the most part, bloody, dark and shows Pierce Brosnan in a more rugged light.
5 years after an incident Montenegro, agent Peter Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) is retired and in Switzerland, though it isn’t long until some dramatic event calls him back into the game, where he blurs the line between good and bad confronting old partner David Mason (Luke Bracey) to track a missing female and uncover who was behind a bombing. Peter gains the help of case worker Alice (Olga Kurylenko) to try and jump in the lead in finding the missing woman.
It has its predicted twists and turns with the idea of never knowing who to trust and I like that, it’s never overbearing or so out there that the twists become laughable. Yes, high stake political players and dingy cities make for cliched thriller tropes but that’s surely to be expected in this kind of film…right? Well maybe you want it to do something slightly different to reinvent the thriller wheel but you take what you get, especially when this Roger Donaldson movie succeeds in creating tension and delivering on action.
The attempts at Jason Bourne like hand to hand may not be overly thrilling, the only times they try this sort of thing is with a few kicks or knees to a head or with an all too brief mano o mano combat scene between Peter and David. There’s a lot more visceral battle conclusions than I was anticipating, with brutal bloody head-shots and the like scattered amongst the film. Heck, even the very very end of the this movie has a moment such as this and I won’t lie, it made me jump!
There are a number of problems with the film, one annoyance for me was the inclusion of a character with great potential that came to nothing. An apparent trained and deadly female killer who had little screen time and did literally not much at all to demonstrate the awesome power she could have done. She either needed to have been seen more or not at all. After a brilliant fast paced opening twenty minutes or so the film begins to droop. Not a great thing as there aren’t many fast sequences amongst the slower feeling scenes to lift the film from this sag. It’s a little bit dumb and long with things being shown that don’t need to be either because they stretch the running time or we can see the outcome coming before it’s shown. None of the actors apart from Brosnan really get a grip to come out with a glean and bursts of slow motion feel a bit out of place in this kind of movie.
One of the biggest stand outs in this film is the talent of Pierce Brosnan who clearly utilises on his background as one of the James Bonds, he has that danger and charm mixed to perfection and elevates this more so as the ‘November Man’ making you question him as a good or bad guy. One scene in particular where he has the obligatory sitting at a table with valuable victim of enemy’s leads him to a surprising and angry outburst that Brosnan spits with appropriate venom. Olga Kurylenko has a few times to prove she’s not the helpless screaming female, especially when she gets into her more adult Hit-Girl get up but there are a lot of times that she’s there to be helped along by Brosnan’s Peter.
Like I said, I still enjoyed the film for all its faults. It has a suitable of tension, Brosnan is great and it never ever gets dull or boring in story. I can’t see it being a memorable film or doing very well as a series, if it does get the green light for further productions, but for a late night movie to provide some hard edged typical thriller fare, then you’re in the right place.