Brosnan Unbound from Bond : Review of The November Man

This past Friday marked the big return of our favorite spy into North American theaters. But this time, it was not Daniel Craig who got sent in Serbia to fight war criminals and CIA assassins, but Pierce Brosnan instead.

In The November Man, an ex-CIA agent Devereaux (Brosnan) fights for his life while trying to uncover the truth about the past of an aspiring Russian president. After five years of peaceful retirement, Devereaux finds himself pitted against a vicious hit man (or hit woman to be correct) and an ancient CIA protégé that causes his simple retrieval mission to go horribly askew. Far from being intimidated, Devereaux triggers a deadly game of cat and mouse, while protecting an innocent social services worker.

pierce brosnan november man

Bond, James Bond?

This is not a 007 movie. It stars Pierce Brosnan as a retired spy and former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace), but it is not a 007 movie. There’s barrels of action, fights, espionage and double crosses, but that doesn’t make it a Bond movie.

Well, does it?

The moment the movie begins, you know you’re in for some sort of unofficial Bond treat. As you slide into the action, it becomes impossible to separate the sentiment that Brosnan knew exactly what he was doing.

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A Redemption

Directed by Roger Donaldson (remember the good volcano flick of 1997? No, not Volcano, that was dreadful…), The November Man was Brosnan project from the start, and you can feel it. Produced with the help of old friends and based on Bill Granger “There Are No Spies” novel, it is clear that the actor wanted to revisit the genre and possibly make a clean slate after his lasts awful Bond flicks. In fact, he simply, shamelessly, offered himself a trip back to the franchise. But if his effort had an evidently smaller budget than what usually benefits an official 007, the mission is nevertheless a complete success.

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A credible agent

Those who found it a bit silly, or irritating, to see Daniel Craig barely older than in Casino Royal portraying an aging agent trying to get back on the field in Skyfall, won’t have to face that disappointment with The November Man. Brosnan’s portraying of an retired agent is right on, partly due to is Bond past, partly due to his talent. Old man Pierce, who openly admitted wanting to explore darker side than he was allowed in his previous spy efforts did it perfectly and rendered a believable cold and violent persona. At the same time, witnessing it, it is hard to separate the feeling that he also wanted to prove that he, too, can play a tougher good guy, more in Craig’s tone.

Add to that the beautiful Olga Kurylenko, a good supporting cast, music by Marco Beltrami and most of all, no unbelievable plane chase and you get The November Man, a decent spy flick worth watching. Nothing ground breaking, but entertaining, fun and a bit nostalgic.

The November Man is in theaters right now!

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