Saturday, July 4, 2015
THE NOVEMBER MAN (2014)
Directed By: Roger Donaldson
Written By: Michael Fench & Karl Gajdusek
Cinematography By: Romain Lacourbas
Editor: John Gilbert
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Olga Kurylenko, Bill Smitrovich, Luke Bracey, Will Patton, Amila Terzimehic, Eliza Taylor
Peter Devereaux is a former CIA agent who is asked by the man he worked for to extract a woman who is in Russia and is presently close to a man running for President, who is believed to have committed crimes during the Chechen war. She can give them the name of someone who can prove it. His friend says that she will only come to him. So he goes and she gets the info and tries to get out but the man finds out and tries to stop her. Peter arrives and saves her but as they are getting away they're shot at. She is killed but tells Peter the name before she dies. Peter kills the men who attacked them but when he sees the leader, Mason, a man he trained, he realizes the CIA is involved. He tries to find the person and the only one who might know where she is is Alice Fournier, the social worker who helped her when she came to the West. A CIA bigwig steps in and orders that Devereaux be taken off the case and wants Mason to take care of it. The Presidential candidate sends an assassin to make sure no one wrecks his chances of becoming President. Devereaux finds Alice and tries to protect her while trying to find the mole.
I will admit that i actually wanted to see this film in theaters after I saw the preview. I just never had enough time or energy to see it. As it is rare the just regular action film that isn't expensive nor stars the usual suspects. This one definitely has more of a European tint to it. Though happily isn't from the Luc Besson action factory, nor does it star Liam Neeson though it does have an aging action character. It's not as high profile a film. Though is a bit smarter than Neeson's films usually and has a hero who tends to drink a lot. So you wonder was Neeson too busy or expensive as we get Pierce brosnan instead. Not a terrible choice as it could have gone. (Think Kevin Costner)
The film is your average espionage intrigue film. That feels fairly routine and uninspired. Except it adds more action then letting the intrigue speak for itself.
The film is ok, but what doesn't help is the stars. I have no problem with Pierce Brosnan as an actor. He is well known for playing JAMES bond more then other roles he has taken. Though it seems the film rests on the audience thinking he is this bond-ish bad ass and unfortunately as that is really the only action role he has been well known as playing. Here he feels like he has no presence. He does what is required of the role, but while other characters give him a past and describe how dangerous he is. We never really witness it ourselves and as he is a hero somewhat in the film. He also still never comes across as a bad ass. Plenty of times they show him having questionable moral value and seem unpredictable, but he never crosses the line as badly as it would need. So while he brings the knowledge of his past celebrated role. He doesn't bring an action oriented history that might be required of the role. He is more an actor then a genre character hero. Though the only role I truly remember him being exceptional in was THE MATADOR.
Also Luke Bracey who is his main adversary throughout this film. Just feels like a pretty face. He also never truly impressed or has presence in the role. It's Like a guest star or a replacement actor in a role. You keep waiting for the real person to show up or hope he gets more believable. Which never happens. He is actually a replacement for Bradley Cooper in the role of David Mason.
I keep hoping for a role of Olga Kurylenko to break out in as she is usually the best thing in some of the horrible movies she is in. And noteworthy in the good ones. She always seems to have bad luck in roles as she is always in films that seem like they are going to break her out and be blockbusters only for the films to not quite be hits and leave her as memorable but still kind of obscure. She tends to be in more action films. Though she appears in the occasional rare dramatic role Terrence Malik's TO THE WONDER. She usually is the sexpot or the damsel in distress or the girlfriend. She was once even a villain In CENTURION. Coincidently she was even in a JAMES bond film QUANTAM OF SOLACE with daily Craig as bond though. She is extraordinarily beautiful and has the talent to match. It just seems like bad luck or some kind of curse. So unfortunately her and this film seem par for the course
It's a bit disappointing that this is directed by Roger Donaldson who before this was on a career and artistic resurgence directing the excellent THE WORLD'S FASTEST INDIAN and THE BANK JOB with Jason Statham. As well as his previous work the remake of the getaway that was better then it could have been. Here I believe the script is so paint by numbers that really he has barely any inspiration to make the film different or look different the the many types of films this films will remind one of while watching it. So while it is decent direction there is nothing special. As it the director works well with what he is left with.
Star Pierce Brosnan and director Roger Donaldson previously worked together on DANTE’S PEAK.
Even the second and third act double crosses and triple crosses as well as reveals and conspiracies are telegraphed. Especially when you realize a sudden change of character's personality. Spite what we have seen or know from before. Though luckily we are spared a Pierce Brosnan love scene though it is implied. Instead to give the film some skin. His young adversary gets one. In a side story that seems to be there only for that reason and to add a scene where him and Brosnan face off and for us in the audience to maybe see how far off the deep end Brosnan will go for revenge, using intmidation
The action scenes are ok. Nothing amazing it they keep your attention. Especially when we find out why Brosnan’s nickname is the title of the film
The film was made and released about twenty-seven years after its source novel "There Are No Spies" by Bill Granger had been first published in 1987.
Luckily the film is perfectly packed as It never overstays it’s welcome. And seems to know when to wrap it up.
Don't get me wrong the film isn't horrible it's rather serviceable and probably better than one might think, but that is only if you already had low expectations. The film is fairly disposable and takes itself too seriously to have any humor. No matter how silly and ridiculous the plot tends to get. It's an ok time killer