Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 16 May |
Saint of the Day: St. Simon Stock
home iconNews
line break icon

The November Man

AP-Photo-Relativity-Media-Aleksandar-Letic

David Ives - published on 09/02/14 - updated on 06/07/17

Pierce Brosnan returns once again to the role of a spy.

Take a look at any given poll concerning which actor has portrayed the best on-screen James Bond and it’s almost a certainty that Sean Connery will emerge as the number one choice each and every time. The number two spot, however, is usually up for grabs and depends heavily on the age of the voters.

Take, for instance, a 2012 Economist/YouGov poll in which readers were offered the choice of five different Bonds. Once the results were tallied, Pierce Brosnan came in a solid second as the best 007 for those between the ages of 30 and 44. That’s good news for the makers of “The November Man” as that older demographic is the one to which their film will most likely appeal.

“The November Man” feels oddly old fashioned. No doubt, part of the reason for this is due to the presence of Pierce Brosnan, who returns once again to the role of a spy. This time around, he plays ex-CIA operative Peter Devereaux, one of the agency’s top operatives who chooses to retire after his protégé, David Mason (Luke Bracey), disobeys orders and accidently shoots an innocent child dead. As is often the case in these stories, however, circumstances soon draw Devereaux back into the game.

Tipped off by an old colleague that his former lover Natalia is in mortal danger, Devereaux clandestinely attempts to extract the woman from the clutches of a dangerous Russian general turned potential president. Yes, just as in real life, the Russians are back as the bad guys. “The November Man” is a loose adaptation of Bill Granger’s 1987 novel, “There Are No Spies,” and, despite the movie’s modern setting, the film feels very much like a story from the Cold War era the book was written in.

Devereaux almost succeeds with his mission, but when the Russians determine what is going on, the CIA mysteriously orders Mason to assassinate Natalia. Before she dies, however, Natalia gives Devereaux the name of a missing woman who holds information that could bring down not only the Russian general, but others on the American side as well.

The possession of this knowledge marks Devereaux as a target not only by the Russians, but by the CIA as well, who naturally send Mason to find and kill his old mentor. If the setup involving a legendary agent being pitted against his one-time student seems somewhat familiar, it’s because it’s something of a rehash of the central conflict in “GoldenEye,” the first James Bond to feature Brosnan as super spy.

That underlying current of “been here, done that” permeates the whole of “The November Man.” That’s not to say the movie is overly dull. Director Roger Donaldson is no newbie to the spy thriller, and he directs the movie with efficiency, if not too much flare. In a nod to the aesthetic changes brought to the spy genre by the Bourne franchise, the firefights and fisticuffs in the film are quick and brutal, though Donaldson can’t resist a few instances of Matrix-style bullet-time when someone is about to land a particularly hard punch.

The script by Michael Finch and Karl Gajdusek also does its best to keep things interesting. Befitting a spy movie, there are plenty of twists and turns, with characters flipping sides at a moment’s notice. And yet, even there, it’s hard not to feel as if you’ve seen it all before. None of the twists are all that startling.

What saves the movie is the acting. Filled mostly by TV veterans and non-American actors (a growing trend in Hollywood to help keep budgets under control), the cast turns in solid performances all around. Besides the aforementioned Bracy, there are good performances from Bill Smitrovich as Devereaux’s former boss and Lazar Ristovski as the Putin-esque Russian general. Olga Kurylenko, herself a one-time Bond girl, is particularly nice as the social worker who aids Devereaux in trying to find the missing woman.

  • 1
  • 2
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
ascension AND ASSUMPTION
Philip Kosloski
Ascension vs. assumption: What is the difference?
2
SAINT MATTHIAS
Philip Kosloski
Why Matthias was chosen to replace Judas as an apostle
3
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
4
BENOIT JOSEPH LABRE
Larry Peterson
Benedict XVI called him “one of the most unusual saintsR...
5
Philip Kosloski
What was the message of Our Lady of Fatima?
6
PHILIPPINES CHURCH
J-P Mauro
We need better church music, say Catholics in the Philippines
7
I.Media for Aleteia
These 30 shrines will lead the Rosary Relay for end of the pandem...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.