The November Man
Posted August 28, 2014 by Daniel Hodgson in
Its story is as over-plotted as a bad le Carré adaptation, but its action is as dull as a weak James Bond entry. It’s the worst of both worlds.
There came a point during The November Man where I’d lost all interest—and there were still 30 minutes or so to go.
That was after the umpteenth double-cross. There comes a point where you realize that all these people do — these spies, handlers, and assassins — is betray each other. It’s the same event, recycled over and over again, like the damn movie went green or something in the worst way.
Pierce Brosnan returns to the espionage genre as Peter Devereaux, a retired spy called out of retirement to extract a Russian double agent out of Moscow for the C.I.A. The mission goes wrong, and Devereaux finds himself hunted by the same people he once worked for—including his former protégé, David Mason (Luke Bracey).
However, the double-agent turns out to be the only woman who got close to Devereaux, who believed that personal connections were a liability. You’ll see a lot of that during The November Man. So-and-so was really so-and-so, over and over again. What would improve The November Man greatly is if only so-and-so were really…interesting.
The November Man is as over-plotted as a bad le Carré adaptation (such as 2011’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), and its action is as dull as a weak James Bond entry. It’s the worst of both worlds. It tries to have an interesting plot and exciting action, but in the end, it gets neither right.
As an espionage thriller, the fight choreography has none of the flair of The Bourne Supremacy or The Bourne Ultimatum, and there’s none of the gadgetry of 90’s Bond, yet the movie is in a hurry to get to the next half-baked set-piece.
Up until an hour in, at least I was looking at the screen. I wanted to know what was going to happen next. Call it a passing interest. That’s more than I can say for many a so-called thriller, and many a movie in general.
That’s not a recommendation. That simply means, I’ve seen worse.
A movie needs to have a look, and The November Man can’t settle on one. Say what you will about Paul Greengrass’s aesthetic, at least The Bourne Supremacy had an identity. It was shaky-cam quick cut from start to finish. On the other hand, Casino Royale and Skyfall of the 007 series had the same classical look throughout. Caught in-between, The November Man looks like an anthology film helmed by one guy with directorial schizophrenia.
Frankly, I can’t see a single reason why Devereaux should get mixed up in the action from the villain’s point of view, when he was better off uninvolved. Similarly, having seen The November Man, I can’t see a single reason to go see this movie.