Based on a series of novels by the same name, The November Man stars Pierce Brosnan as Peter Devereaux, an ex-CIA spy now spending a comfortable retirement in Switzerland. However, he is soon brought out of retirement for one last mission. After a complicated series of plot turns, he soon finds himself pitted against his former student David Mason (Luke Bracey) and the rest of the CIA as he struggles to protect a woman named Alice Fournier (Olga Kurylenko). Between double-crosses and frequent betrayals, he must find out the truth about a conspiracy involving the CIA and the man who will soon become the president of Russia.
Like I said earlier, the single defining characteristic of this movie was how forgettable it is. It’s not even particularly bad, it’s just not very interesting. The plot of the movie was confusing and didn’t seem to make much sense; I was often confused as to why people were doing whatever they were doing, and the constant double-crosses didn’t help matters. Although, I suppose it’s possible that the plot did actually make sense, but in that case it bored me to the point where I couldn’t be bothered to keep up with it. I’m honestly not sure which it was.
The casting of the movie was also not the greatest. Pierce Brosnan was fine- just fine. Yes, he was James Bond for a number of years, but he wasn’t channeling that experience here. Olga Kurylenko is similarly average; she was marginally more interesting to me, but I think that’s because compared to Brosnan, she seems new and different (my dad showed me pretty much every James Bond movie). The casting of Luke Bracey seems the strangest choice to me; he wasn’t particularly bad, but the most notable works he has been in prior to this were an Australian soap opera called Home and Away and a romantic comedy called Monte Carlo alongside Selena Gomez.
I’ve been mentioning James Bond a lot in this article; it’s difficult not to when a former Bond actor is in the movie. And it should be compared- James Bond is the most popular spy series of all time. And I believe that the reason for that is because, despite all the violence and grittiness the series possesses (especially in the more recent adaptations), James Bond movies are always fun. Yes, they’re intense, and yes, they can be dark. But they never lose sight of the reason why people go to see them: to see James Bond kick ass and take names and look damn cool while doing it.
The November Man is an example of how not to do spy movies. It’s not fun and entertaining like a Bond film. Neither did it take the completely opposite route and become extremely realistic, a style that one of the summer’s earlier films so admirably demonstrated. Instead, it’s stuck somewhere in the middle: it takes itself too seriously to be enjoyable, but its plot is not interesting enough to carry the film’s weight entirely on its shoulders. So in the end, we’re left with a film that’s so extremely average, so completely forgettable, that I had I forgotten about it by the time I walked out of the AMC’s doors onto Tremont Street.