Sunday, 28 December 2014

The November Man - Review

2014 is coming to its end and this year brought us the return of Pierce Brosnan to a major action movie. Of course that during his post-Bond era he played roles like hitman Julian Noble in THE MATADOR (2004) or the ruthless Tom Ryan from BUTTERFLY ON A WHEEL (2007), but THE NOVEMBER MAN could really signify his return to a spy-thriller in the style of the James Bond movies.

But Peter Devereaux, the retired CIA agent Brosnan plays in this film, is no James Bond. Even when he wears some Brioni suits from time to time and dons some of the grace he showed onscreen through a series of films from GOLDENEYE to DIE ANOTHER DAY, the character is a far cry of James Bond: he has no repair in torturing someone or hurting innocents, his vocabulary is kind of vulgar... in the end, he plays a character in an universe taken from the Jason Bourne films or Daniel Craig's James Bond era - detail: the "girl" is played by QUANTUM OF SOLACE's Olga Kurylenko and the "villain" (if we can call him that way) is played by CASINO ROYALE's Lazar Ristovski (remember him? Kaminofsky, the Russian player on the table).

Peter Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) escapes of a
death trap set by his former protegée, Mason (Luke Bracey)
The story deals with Devereaux called for one last "mission" during his retirement in Switzerland, where he owns a café over the lake. His colleague and friend Hanley (Bill Smitrovich) informs him that a number of people linked to a Russian candidate Arkady Federov (Ristovski) are being sistematically killed. Apparently Federov wants nobody to remind him or the world about his shadowy past. And the next one on the list is Natalia (Mediha Musliovic), posing as Federov's secretary.

Due to Devereaux's feelings to Natalia, a former lover and also the mother of his daughter Lucy, he accepts. He manages to rescue her from the Russian parliament but she's suddenly shot by David Mason (Luke Bracey), a young agent Peter has trained but is now working for the agency's interests and blindly follows orders from the top. Before dying, Natalia reveals Peter a name: Mira Filipova, a Crimean War refugee who has vital information on Federov's past.

Olga Kurylenko portrays Alice Fournier,
a social worker that gets along in the fight
Following the clues of Mira, Devereaux meets Alice Fournier (Kurylenko), a social worker and the only lead to the vanished Mira. As long as he goes on with his "assignament", Peter must protect Alice, escape from Federov's cold-blooded assasin Alexa (Amila Terzimehic) and from the CIA agents led by his former friend Mason, who are determined to terminate him.

The film got plenty of bad reviews. We can agree it's not a perfect film: the story could have been better developed -particularly the relationship between Devereaux and his protegée/rival Mason - and some scenes certainly don't fit in the story. However, the cinematography is a very positive point, as Marco Beltrami's powerful soundtrack.

Roger Donaldson, who previously directed Brosnan in 1997's DANTE'S PEAK, knows how to add suspense and interesting or unexpected twists that can make this movie very interesting and enjoyable.

In the end, those are good words to describe THE NOVEMBER MAN: interesting and enjoyable. Peter Devereaux is basically the kind of James Bond that Brosnan wanted to portray during his seven-year tenure, a grittier and ruthless guy than the action hero type he ended up playing. And once more he shows he can play this kind of roles.

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