'The November Man'
Director: Roger Donaldson
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Olga Kurylenko, Luke Bracey
There are some films that are way past their expiry date, like sour milk placed in a fridge for two months. 'The November Man' is unfortunately one of those films.
This movie has everything past its expiry deadline. Pierce Brosnan is cast as a secret agent action man way too late in his career, at a time when better more muscular action heroes are ruling the genre. The film is directed by Roger Donaldson, who was great in the ’70s and late ’80s, but somewhat faltered in the ’90s with generic thrillers and a horrible horror film named Species. The film is also based on a book which was released in the ’80s, which means it is behind the curve both storytelling and technology-wise, when compared to new-age spy thrillers. There’s also a meta element where Olga Kurylenko, who played a Bond girl alongside Daniel Craig is cast opposite Brosnan.
Needless to say, none of those elements work for the film. It doesn’t help that the story itself is a cookie cutter potboiler. It begins with a spy movie trope used in hundreds of films before – a flashback where our hero ends up losing a civilian and his friend. As if to shove clichés down our throats, the hero’s mission in the film is his one last job, and the job involves some political warmongering between the USA and Russia. Worse, the woman he seems to care about is handed the task of eliminating him, and the hunter becomes the hunted – by the CIA, no less.
If the familiarity in the plot and narrative don’t get to you, the action sequences certainly will. None of the stunts by Brosnan have been done by the actor himself, and it is only too obvious. The shootouts, the car chases and the rapidfire camerawork is all been-there-done-that territory. There is nothing new in the film to see or hear. The hodgepodge of a script is let down further by Donaldson’s direction, which is strange because The Bank Job, which ranks as his best film, was based on a weak script. There is also a twist in the end, which you’ll unfortunately see coming from a mile away. Brosnan co-produces the movie and he just doesn’t have the charm that he had in his golden years. It’s also a bad decision of his to return to this genre after he had parodied it himself with the underrated gem, The Matador.