Advertisements

Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

The November Man (2014)


But it’s not even his month yet! What an arse!

Veteran CIA officer Peter Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) is lured back into the profession when an old confidante of his turns up dead. This leads Devereaux next in line for the killing, so he goes on the run, which also, unsurprisingly, pits him against his protégé (Luke Bracey) in a violent game of cat-and-mouse. But there’s a bigger story here than just these two guys trying to kill one another; apparently a big member of the Russian government is involved with a prostitute-scandal that he wants to keep silent. However, that’s not going to fly with Devereaux and this is when he stumbles upon a woman (Olga Kurylenko) who may have all the information he needs in order to have all the dogs called-off and allow for him and his rival to chill out and sip on a few cold ones. That is, if they don’t kill the other first.

So, why on Earth did I decide to review this? Better yet, why did I even bother watching this in the first place? It had crap ratings, a crap release-date, crap box-office returns (okay, they’re not as bad), and honestly, will most likely be forgotten by the end of the year, rather than nominated for a Razzie or two (which, believe it or not, isn’t as bad as being “totally forgotten”).

Well, the short answer? Because I don’t know. Maybe a part of me just wanted to get away from the drama-heavy usual pieces I sit around watching and just enjoy myself, even if it was for only an hour two. Okay, maybe that answer was a bit longer than I had wanted, but honestly, I feel like that response puts into perspective of what I’m trying to get across here about the November Man: It’s nothing special, but eh, you could do worse.

Tryin' to catch Pierce ridin' dirty....

Tryin’ to catch Pierce ridin’ dirty….

Actually, you could do a whole lot worse with a piece of R-rated action-thriller such as this, but somehow, director Roger Donaldson finds a way to class this up ever so slightly, that it makes the final-product more than just a bunch of blood, guts, bullets, and, ahem, octane. It’s a sort of spy-tale in that we get a bunch of international men of mystery, end up colliding with one another in a game full of twists, turns, hoops, and holes, but also has a bit of an aggressive edge to it that made some of the violence a bit shocking.

In fact, if there was a problem I had with the movie, it was that the gruesome violence seemed to happen so abruptly, it almost seemed like the movie didn’t want to make it any more than just what they presented themselves as being: Bloody bits of violence and action. Which, yes, is fine if that’s exactly what you’re going for in your movie, but I feel like Donaldson was aiming for something a little bit deeper than that, and he doesn’t fully achieve it.

He tries to make us care for these characters, understand their plight, and cheer that whatever situation they’re in, they get out of them alive. Most action movies use this aspect, and use it well, but the November Man feels slightly odd in that we never really get to the point of where we can feel anything for any of these characters. Not because because they’re written poorly (which they are), but because the actions they make, don’t always allow them to shine in the right light. Which is a problem considering that almost every action these characters make, is a bad one that can either rub us the wrong way, or make us wonder who in the hell we’re supposed to cheer for.

It’s obvious that the movie wants us to mainly be on the side of Peter Devereaux, its hero of sorts, but he only comes off more like the idea of “a hero”, and more of just, simply put, “a dick”. See, even though Pierce Brosnan is playing Devereaux as another side of James Bond, there’s not much charm or likability to this guy that makes us want to reach out to him like we do with Bond. Sure, the character of Bond himself has some problems, mostly with the boozing and the women, but when it comes down to getting his mission done, in an efficient way, where hardly any innocents are hurt, Bond is there to save the day, for lack of a better term.

A Bond actor and a Bond girl, but not a Bond movie? Da 'eff?

A Bond actor and a Bond girl, but not a Bond movie? Da ‘eff?

However, that’s not Peter Devereaux and while I like Brosnan playing up his “good-guy” image of Bond, this time would have been more effective, had he already not done so in a much better, much more entertaining movie, the Matador. That said, Peter Devereaux is a ruthless bad-ass that definitely shoots first, and takes names later, so if you’re into that sort of sociopathic thing, then yeah, he’s definitely your hero. However, if you’re like me and appreciated it when the people you’re supposed to be rooting for have at least a few good qualities to their personalities, then you may be a bit out of luck here with Peter Devereaux. Brosnan definitely tries with this character and more often than not, comes out on top, but sadly, it’s not the kind of performance he can be happy with, years after the fact when he’s looking at his career in hindsight.

But I’ve realized that I’ve gotten further and further away from my original point about the November Man: It’s quite fun. Though it may be gritty, full of senseless acts of violence, somewhat mean-spirited, and confusing whenever it focuses on its convoluted, unnecessary political-subplot, there is some excitement to be had here, especially when people are shooting one another and do whatever they can to kill the other. Sounds a bit scary, I know, but that’s how most action movies are.

For better, as well as for worse. All depends on who it is you’re talking to.

Consensus: With numerous acts of bloody, disheartening violence, the November Man may rub some the wrong way, while entertain the hell out of others. Basically, it all comes down to what kind of person you are and what it is you like to do with in your spare time.

5 / 10 = Rental!!

Cool guys still apparently walk from explosions.

Cool guys apparently still don’t look at explosions.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDB, AceShowbiz

Advertisements

12 responses to “The November Man (2014)

  1. Kristin October 9, 2014 at 3:57 am

    I just didn’t have any interest in seeing this movie because it looked like it was trying too hard to be better than what it knew it was. I do get wanting to take a step back and enjoying a movie, even if you know it’s just going to be mediocre. When was the last time Pierce Brosnan was in a good movie? Nice review, Dan!

  2. Tom October 9, 2014 at 5:47 am

    You’ve got a good point about the nature of the violence and how Brosnan plays his character off more gruff and mean-spirited; if people walk into this expecting an extension of his James Bond days, they’ll be sorely mistaken. He’s definitely more of an ass here but I really did like him. A few scenes in particular stood out, but overall yeah this movie is pretty bad.

    Good review Dan

  3. bck1402 October 9, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    I had low expectations going into this which may be a reason why I didn’t think it’s as bad as many people seem to say. I think Donaldson and Brosnan kept things fairly old-school in terms of a spy-thriller, which might work to the benefit of the movie. Still, there are worse movies.
    (You can find a link to my review on my blog under the Reviews Links)

  4. ruth October 9, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    I’m not even interested in renting this to be honest. If I want to see Pierce as a somewhat decent spy, I’ll just rewatch Goldeneye 😉

  5. JustMeMike October 10, 2014 at 1:47 am

    I think this was not truly a film that is recommendable, and not truly a bad film either. It was satraight by the numbers spy thriller. Plot holes galore, and enough action set pieces. It’s not as good as Safe House with Denzell Washington, but far better than Costner’s 3 Days to Kill.

    So I’m with Dan in calling this a middle of the road film.

  6. Nostra November 14, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Never appealed to me so I guess I’ll be skipping this one. Don’t mind action movies, but somehow I don’t think I will get much enjoyment out of this one.

  7. Evan Crean July 7, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    I disagree Dan. I don’t think you could do much worse than The November Man. It ranked in my top 5 worst movies from 2014. I do agree however with your points about the abrupt brutal violence and characters we never care for because they’re all such awful people. The only person that comes close to likability is Brosnan’s Deveraux, but as you mention, even he’s a dick. For me there’s nothing redeeming about this turd.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: