starring Pierce Brosnan, Luke Bracey, Olga Kurylenko, Eliza Taylor, Caterina Scorsone, Bill Smitrovich and Will Patton
screenplay by Michael Finch and Karl Gajdusek
directed by Roger Donaldson
Based on the book There are No Spies by Bill Granger (the seventh and final installment in The November Man novel series) and called “Spy Legend” in Japan, November Man is a spy thriller about legendary CIA alumnus and super spy Peter Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) who trains a protégé, David Mason (Luke Bracey). After he retires from service Peter gets recalled to action for one more special task which unwittingly pits him against David. It’s not an uncommon formula in spy films, or in any number of stories for that matter. The pupil succeeds the master. But in November Man Peter demonstrates that he’s still the master. I like that the old guy can still outsmart the younger agents at their own game and whip their asses.
Peter’s mission is to go to Russia to extricate a long-term double agent, who just happens to be his former lover. What she’s carrying in her head is so flammable that the CIA can’t risk Devereaux’s operation failing and the target falling into Russian hands. But the operation does go bad and so a strategically-placed CIA sniper kills the woman. That set’s Devereaux on a vengeance mission that takes up the rest of the film. He succeeds in his vengeance, but pursuing it exposes the very highest, corrupted levels of his own organization. I mean the story has a twist - the sort of twist we’ve seen before in spy stories.
I like Pierce Brosnan. He’s cool. He’s handsome. His voice and his figure combined project masculine competence. Brosnan previously worked with director Roger Donaldson on the 1997 volcano disaster movie Dante’s Peak, which I quite like. But I did not particularly like November Man.
I completely do not understand the “November Man” nickname. I understand that the screenplay was based on a novel, but within the movie itself the moniker is not explained.