release date: 27 August 2014
run time: 108 mins
considered: Action, Crime, Thriller
director: Roger Donaldson
starring: Pierce Brosnan, Luke Bracey, Olga Kurylenko, Bill Smitrovich, Amial Terzimehic, Lazar Ristovski, Mediha Musliovic, Eliza Taylor, Caterina Scorsone, Akie Kotabe, Will Patton, Patrick Kennedy, Dragan Marinkovic, Ben Willens, Milos Timotijevic
movie summary: The United States has spent the majority of the last century watching and monitoring every move that Russia makes on the world stage. Whether it’s during the dark days of the Cold War or 2014 when a new Russian politician is rising to power, the CIA is always lurking in the shadows. Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) is now a retired CIA-assassin that has a long list of successful hits and wasthe trainer for the current CIA go to guy, Mason (Luke Bracey). Mason was his partner until a blown assignment forces Devereaux to rethink his career and decide to retire to enjoy retirement in the sunshine.
The pair have not seen each other in years until Agent Hanley (Bill Smitrovich) finds Devereaux and asks him to come back for one more assignment. Devereaux shrugs off the offer until he realizes his old partner Natalia (Mediha Musliovic) is deep undercover in Russia. She’s been working closely with Arkady Federov (Lazar Ristovski) who is about to ascend to the Presidency of Russia. The CIA wants her out before her cover is blown and because she has secret information about Federov that could derail his Presidency before it even starts. Devereaux agrees to go get her out only to find out the another CIA team is running a side operation to assassinate her once she’s been extracted. While a car chase ensues across the streets of Moscow, Devereaux comes face to face with Mason, who is about to finish his assignment on Natalia.
After blowing up their respective vehicles to cover their tracks, Mason and Devereaux head off in separate directions to gather intel on why the other was in Moscow. Hanley steps in to tell Mason that Devereaux has gone rogue and he must be put down. He fills Mason’s head with bad intel about their training days and Devereaux’s past which includes a wife and a little girl. Mason understands his new assignment and begins to do his own research on how to bring his former partner down, even though he knows Devereaux will always be a step ahead.
In Libya Devereaux tracks down information he got from his source about a girl named Mila who Federov used to have relations with. He meets up with Alice (Olga Kurylenko), Mila’s case worker, when she escaped Federov’s grasp. Captured at a young age, Mila was sexually assaulted and held against her will until she was in her early 20’s. Devereaux insists that he find and talk to Mila before Federov becomes President. Her story can help bring him down and allow the CIA to stop a mad man from taking over one of the most powerful countries in the world.
Hanley reaches out to Devereaux and informs him that Mason is out to kill him for botching his assignment in Russia. Devereaux understands the situation and tries his best to turn the tables on Mason to keep his distance and have the upper hand of this cat and mouse game. Hanley is soon arrested for his involvement with Federov and Natalia’s assassination in Russia. While in custody, Devereaux breaks in to question Hanley about what side he plays for. When all the chips are laid out on the table, Devereaux realizes he is all along in this game. He doesn’t know where Mila is, he’s doing his best to protect Alice who has tagged along, all the while avoiding the trigger happy Mason.
Devereaux decides his best option is to confront Mason and hope he survives the gun fight. He knows that Mason is a smart guy and will listen to his intel about Hanley, Federov, and Alice. He believes when everything is out in the open Mason will do the right thing and help him get to the bottom of this problem before the whole world gets turned upside down.
my thoughts: I got to be funny and say that who would have known that when James Bond retired from the British Secret Service that he would go and work for the CIA? Pierce Brosnan will always be remembered for playing Agent 007 in several films, so one would only compare his trained killer work here with his work in the Bonds film. In The November Man, Brosnan shows his age, along with his smarts and ability to drink glasses and glasses of liquor and still hit his target with precision accuracy. He spends the majority of the movie out in plain sight, he wants his former co-workers and supervisors to see his every move because he’s out to prove a point. His skill set allow him to stay a step ahead of everyone on his trail, while the most important piece of information he’s been looking for is actually right in front of him. Through out his whole career he’s managed to keep his private life quiet but when that gets exposed in an attempt to bring him down, he comes out with guns a blazing because he’s extremely pissed of how certain events are unfolded. Brosnan doesn’t provide movie goers with anything new in terms of super CIA assassins, but his reputations as a slick and wise shooter make him a believable retired agent who comes back for one more assignment.
Luke Bracey is a rather unknown movie star who is set to be Johnny Utah in the Point Break reboot. His acting in The November Man will help him fill the shoes of such an iconic role. He is quick with the gun but his personal interests get him in trouble on several occasions which only complicate his life and assignments more than the average super agent. Despite being trained by the very best in the field, his inability to follow simple orders ends up costing him and leaving always a step or two behind. Bracey was a great selection to go head to head with such an established actor like Brosnan who took him under his wing to show him the ropes.
I actually didn’t expect much out of this movie and then realized that Olga Kurylenko was in it. She’s a quiet and talented actress that steals most scenes she’s in because of her beauty. Armed with a personal vendetta against Federov, she will use the guys who have come into her life (Devereaux and Mason) to launch her assault on Federov. The information she has is the missing piece to the whole puzzle which forces these guys to sacrifice their lives to protect her. Despite not having any real fighting experience, she manages to hold her own under pressure and helps unravel everything Federov worked for.
my final thoughts: The November Man was the best movie I saw last week in theatres. Despite the fact it is just another spy story between USA vs. Russia, it was entertaining. I would advise that you don’t go into this movie expecting a non-stop shoot out because it is not. It has just the right of action and spy storytelling to keep you engaged for 108 mins, while adding another chapter to the ongoing story of two great super powers who hate each other.
my star rating: 7 out 10
rottentomatoes.com: 36% out 100%
rogerebert.com: 2 out 4