November Man: Pierce Brosnan’s Return

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For the people yearning to see Pierce Brosnan return to his all-too-short run as 007….you will all sadly be left waiting by The November Man. Though one gets the sense that Pierce Brosnan, still impossibly dashing at the age of 61, is trying to reconnect in the November Man with what made him such a fun Bond to watch, a convoluted plot combined with the same tropes moviegoers have seen a million times weigh the film down considerably, making it an enjoyable Friday night action flick, but nothing more.

Brosnan plays the titular November Man, real name Peter Devreux, an ex-CIA agent who is called out of retirement to protect a witness, Alice Fournier. The plot takes predictable turn after predictable turn, with customary betrayals, action packed chase sequences, gunfights, et cetera, toward the end all of these very predictable parts jam together to create an unseemly jumble of clichés and plot holes that would have left me wondering what in God’s name I had just watched if I cared enough about the film to think about it. The most refreshing part of the film is a single moment about halfway through when Devreux makes a morally questionable decision, but alas the promise of a truly gray action hero is tossed out seconds after it is teased.

Brosnan really brings his A-game to November Man, portraying Devreux as simultaneously war-weary and dangerous. His surprising virility at his advanced age really lends him to the character, and he really steals every scene he is in. Tragically, he does not have much competition on that front, as there are no real standout actors aside from him. Olga Kurylenko does a passable job, but for the most part the acting is thoroughly unremarkable.

The one place the film really delivers is the action. Save for a disappointing tease for a hand-to-hand duel that never happens, every action sequence feels spot-on and intense. The film is aided by the fact that it has very few, if any, CG effects, adding an air of realism, grit, and danger to scenes that would otherwise seem silly or cartoonish. The stunt choreography is excellent, and if you go to the movies to see pulse-pounding, testosterone driven action, this film is squarely up your alley.

Though it has moments of great fun, and a spectacular effort by the leading man, November Man had a hard time battling for my attention. Though the plot tried to throw twists and turns in, it is a road that audiences have travelled many times, and it has plot holes so large you could drive a semi through them. If you are looking for a fun Friday night flick to see with your friends, and you want to turn off your brain entirely, this might be the movie for you. Anyone else should save their money.