Pierce Brosnan has portrayed countless characters over the course of his acting career. Yes, he was in movies like “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Mars Attacks!” “Dante’s Peak” and even “Mamma Mia!,” but the one role he’s most famous for, “James Bond.”
Now 61, and retired from the “Bond”-phase, he’s hinting at a likable comeback with a role in “The November Man,” as a CIA agent. However, with such an acclaimed history of fighting the bad guys, can his performance undermine the non-“Bond”-esque genre without ruining his reputation?
With a quick and meaningful introduction, we meet the characters Devereaux (Brosnan) and Mason (Luke Bracey), two CIA operatives who seem to be unconnected in terms of perspective. After careful thought and unbeknownst knowledge, the two carry out a plan that goes terribly wrong, thereby projecting the plot into a twist of weird and serious misfortunes for the pair.
It’s now five years later, and with the look of remorse, Devereaux seems to be living the casual life, owning and operating a small café in the heart of Switzerland. Much to his surprise, an old friend shows up asking him for his assistance on a particular matter.
With much hesitation, Devereaux accepts the job, understanding his wife and other parties are also involved. When his wife is killed unexpectedly on the getaway, Devereaux learns that his old friend Mason is the one behind it. From here, the two become entangled in a cluster of betrayal and agony as they both fight for, as well as against each other, in attempts to restore each other’s faith for the other.
The film starts off just like every “Bond” film, with a quick go-ahead scene with some dialogue leading into a short action shot, followed by the usual time span, ending with a reason behind the plot. Because Brosnan is a completely different character and the film itself has nothing to do with the “Bond” franchise whatsoever, it’s hard to take him seriously when it comes to following his moves and actions.
Everyone lends a piece to the puzzle, but for most of the film, the center of attention is on Brosnan’s character, Devereaux, and his development with Olga Filapova (Olga Kurylenko). The villain, Arkady Federov (Lazar Ristovski), is on campaign running for president.
Unfortunately for him, some past events have come back to haunt him, and it’s now his job, as well as his unknown partners, to execute said persons before they cause future trouble. For much of the flick, each character is on a different mission. Although the plot isn’t overly well-explained until halfway through the film, the motives of each character give a hint as to who and what is trying to be examined.
About half of the film is action, while the other half focuses on dialogue. Yes, breaks have to occur, but shouldn’t outlast to the point where listening becomes boring.
On a positive note, the overall believability of physics isn’t aggressively awkward like some films (“The A-Team”, “The Matrix”). The special effects stay on a credible line as well. A throat slit from a knife, the spatter of blood from a bullet wound, and countless hand-to-hand combat is all explained and carried out very cleanly.
With little caring of angle and reasoning, the film relies mostly on visuals and the overall performance of Brosnan. When all is said and done, the film gives us one more reason to appreciate the nonsense of what war and crime in film have to offer.