Sunday, August 31, 2014

The (two months before) November Man

Pierce Brosnan returns to the spy genre he left after his stint as James Bond in Roger Donaldson's 'The November Man,' based on the series of spy novels by Bill Granger.  I loved all four of Brosnan's 007 movies, so even though he's over 60 I would still see him in a spy flick, for now.  After all, if Liam Neeson (62) and Kevin Costner (59) can still play spy games in recent flicks like 'Taken' and '3 Days to Kill,' then why not Pierce Brosnan at the ripe not-so-young age of 61?
If you're expecting 'The November Man' to resemble recent James Bond, Jason Bourne or Ethan Hunt movies, then you will be somewhat disappointed because while TNM has its share of derrings-do and action, they are not overbloated or messy as recent spy movies tend to be.  In fact, what I liked about 'The November Man' is its restraint in the action sequences and not letting them overshadow storytelling or character development.   Not so much because Pierce Brosnan, as graying retired CIA agent Peter Devereaux, is no longer in the shape to play James Bond, but because I think it's time for spy movies to stop pummeling us senseless with one unbelievable over-the-top action scene after another.
TNM is the story of a former CIA agent who's called out of peaceful retirement only to find himself swept into a web of intrigue and betrayal when he had to protect a key 'person of interest' (Olga Kurylenko looking as hot as Catherine Zeta Jones 15 years ago) and hunted by his young protégé (newcomer Luke Bracey resembling a young Sean Bean).  The movie succeeds as a believable and entertaining post-9/11 spy thriller, harking back to the Cold War political/espionage thrillers I grew up watching in the '80s like 'The Fourth Protocol' (also starring Pierce Brosnan), 'No Way Out' and 'The Package.'  There are more recent movies like this, of course, such as 'The Shooter' and 'Vantage Point,' but all too often spy movies nowadays try too hard to up the ante on one another in the action department that spies like Bond, Bourne, Cross and Hunt are in effect superhuman (i.e. superspies).

Grade: B+

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