Ten years have passed since director Roger Donaldson and Pierce Brosnan have worked together on the classic disaster film Dante’s Peak; this time it’s an action spy flick about past misgivings, war, and a deranged Russian presidential candidate with one to many skeletons in his closet. Michael Finch has created a fast moving screenplay that blends beautifully with Donaldson’s uneasy frames that allow for suspense to build, while still allowing an audience to question the events happening before their eyes.
Pierce Brosnan is Peter Devereaux, a badass former CIA agent that is called into extract Natalia Ulanova (Mediha Musliovic); a past lover turned Russian FSB that has slithered her way up to Russia’s primary presidential candidate Arkady Federrov (Lazar Ristovski). Ulanova has learned the name of social worker Alice Fournier (Olga Kurylenko), whom holds the key to opening Frederrov’s skeleton Riddled closet, that once open will lead to a Chechen war financed by a rogue high level CIA official. Along the way however, Devereaux runs into a former trainee now fully operational unit, David Mason (Luke Bracey). The two have bad blood between them as Mason ignored Devereaux’s orders on an operation and as a direct result killed a child in the process. Once the two meet in the field Mason Kills Natalia and Devereaux slaughters Mason’s team. For much of the film, Devereaux and Mason are at each other’s throats, yet Deverueax stays one step ahead of Mason, as he is after all, a veteran agent.
Roger Donaldson whom turned 70 this year is a renowned director known for films like Thirteen Days and Species. The November Man is no different, as it features the three common traits we’re used to seeing in his films: Sex, politics, and break-neck pacing. Pierce Brosnan also delivers an excellent performance as Peter Devereaux and magnificently separates this performance from the one shot him to world fame as James Bond. Brosnan’s Co-star Luke Bracey on the other hand should retake some acting lessons as his David Mason is only physically able to match Brosnan’s Devereaux, and falters in scenes that require some real talent. This type of film however, must be getting old for Olga Kurylenko, as she seems to be the go to girl for the damsel in distress. Kurylenko is a former Bond Girl and was even a lady in need of protecting in the Mark Wahlburg vehicle of Max Payne. Not to mention she also recently played a similar part in Joseph Kosinki’s Oblivion.
The November Man also features Caterina Scorsone who is best known for Syfy’s Alice and as a whistleblower in Edge Of Darkness. Scorsone is given a reduced role in which she is only demanded to show her breasts to CIA officials. The same can be said for Will Patton’s Perry Weinstein, he shows up for a few words and simply disappears never to be seen again a mystery worthy of its own investigation.
The November Man is certainly something worth checking out this Labor Day weekend as nothing else worthy of noting has come out. Despite poor box office results, November Man is the best thing to come out since Guardians of The Galaxy hit theaters five weeks ago. That’s saying something.
Note: For those questioning the name of the title, November being a winter month references the dangerous nature of being a spy.