PHOTO BY DAS FILMS
THE NOVEMBER MAN
Where is it playing?: Stadium 10
What's it rated?: R
What's it worth?: $5.00
Pierce Brosnan stars as an ex-CIA agent brought out of retirement to face off against his former pupil (Luke Bracey).
Remember the last time you saw a spy thriller in which a covert agent must play on both sides of the law to get to the truth, all while downing scotch after scotch like it was water? Films filled with damsels in distress turned femme fatales who can pass through all levels of security when they start dressing like hookers? An era filled with cars that explode upward when hit with blindly fired, yet perfectly on-target bullets?
It was the ’90s. And it’s when The November Man should’ve come out.
An ex-CIA agent named Devereaux, played by Pierce Brosnan with a muddled “Noo Yawk” accent, is called back for one more round of spy games. When his former flame/inside woman (Mediha Musliovic) is killed off, he turns protector to a relief worker (Olga Kurylenko) who may have the key to taking down rising Soviet politico Arkady Federov (Lazar Ristovski). Hot on Devereaux’s trail is his former CIA trainee Mason (Luke Bracey) and his boss Hanley (Bill Smitrovich).
If the last three sentences seem like a lot of information to take in in a short amount of time, you’ve just experienced what it’s like to sit through The November Man. New storylines, names, and places appear and disappear rapidly, leaving the viewer looking for a cheat sheet. The whole way through the movie, I felt as though I was watching an episode of a high-stakes TNT action drama halfway through its season.
And that’s where I should’ve seen The November Man: on television. With its poor directing and cliché-packed script, it’s substandard for a movie screening in theaters but a perfect fit on the USA Network.
That may seem like a low blow, but you have to remember the times in which we live. The Jason Bourne series of movies changed a lot about what we expect from spy movies. Even the James Bond movies have had to step up their game to grab our attention.
Would I expect to see Pierce Brosnan back in 007’s shoes performing parkour in Casino Royale or taking a bullet in Skyfall? No. Unfortunately, no one told Brosnan he isn’t Bond anymore.
The movie even pairs him with a Bond girl in Kurylenko, who looks stunning and is trying to make the best of a bad situation. And with Brosnan also producing the film, you get the idea that he still wanted to hear the 007 guitar riff one more time.
If you really want to see Brosnan enjoy his post-spy days, revisit The Matador. The actor plays an aging dirt bag of an assassin who must come to terms with the end of his career. It’s one of my favorites.
A lot of the violence in the movie is from one character hiding around a corner and hitting the other person when they’re least expecting it. Trust me, it’s excessive. It happened at least nine times.
As Hollywood tries to be less sexist, films like this where a male refers to his female underling as “tits” and no one calls him out on it are a major step backward. No one should be doing this anymore unless a character’s name is Thomas Ian Thacker and he prefers to be called by the acronym.
I’ve seen one man walk away from an explosion without looking behind him a hundred times. This film had two characters walking away from said explosion in two separate directions, both of them unflinching, trying to look cool. Only time I laughed. (108 min.)
—Chris Daly; New Times contributor