For an English actor the role of James Bond is a special place to be in, as it boosts the career like never before and gets him everywhere in the world. This was very true for Pierce Brosnan when he was hailed as the best Bond ever after his debut in early 1990s as Ian Fleming‘s quintessentially British spy. Even though Daniel Craig took over and was lucky enough to get the Bond films that are arguably the best written of the series, Pierce Brosnan has retained quite a large fan base that loved to see him in these spy thrillers?
When he stopped playing Bond in 2005, he announced that he would go ahead and make some “down-to-earth” spy thrillers based on Bill Granger’s books that featured an American agent called Peter Devereaux, nicknamed “The November Man“. But every film has its own fate and it was not until 2014, that this idea came to fruition when he starred as an aging ex-CIA agent in the 2014 spy thriller “The November Man” and played the role with the same panache as his Bond avatar.
The screenplay was adapted from a Bill Granger book called “There are No Spies” in this film that revolves around the plot involving Russians, Americans and Chechens, with most of the action taking place in Belgrade.
|Producers||:||Beau St. Clair, Sriram Das|
|Screenplay||:||Michael Finch, Michael Finch|
|Based On||:||There Are No Spies by Bill Granger|
|Production Companies||:||Irish DreamTime, SPD Films, Envision Entertainment|
|Distributed by||:||Relativity Media|
|Released On||:||27 August 2014|
|Starring||:||Pierce Brosnan (Peter H. Devereaux aka “The November Man”), Luke Bracey (David Mason), Olga Kurylenko (Alice Fournier/Mira Filipova), Eliza Taylor (Sarah), Caterina Scorsone (Celia), Bill Smitrovich (John Hanley), Will Patton (Perry Weinstein), Amila Terzimehić (Alexa), Lazar Ristovski (Arkady Fedorov), Mediha Musliović (Natalia Ulanova), Akie Kotabe (Meyers), Patrick Kennedy (Edgar Simpson), Dragan Marinković (Semion Denisov), Ben Willens (Agent Jones), and others…|
The screenplay was written by Karl Gajdusek and the film was directed by Roger Donaldson who had previously delivered ‘Dante’s Peak’ with Pierce Brosnan. The leading lady Olga Kurylenko also happens to have a Bond connection – she was the Bond Girl in 2008 bond film Quantum of Solace.
It is 2008, Peter Devereaux is working in Montenegro with a young apprentice called David Mason. Mason has yet not mastered the aspect called “obeying orders” and the mission ends in a tragic death of an innocent child.
Cut to Lausanne in Switzerland, where Peter has retired as an owner of a cafe situated on a beautiful lake shore. A shadow from the past comes seeking him in form of his friend cum boss John Hanley. Hanley comes in with a now very familiar ploy of employing Peter to extract a Russian turned American agent called Natalia from Russia. Natalia also happens to have some explosive information about Army General Arkady Federov who is a hot candidate for the Russian presidential elections.
A previous connection with Natalia makes the job personal for Peter and against his better judgment he arrives in Russia only to see her dying in front of his eyes and to realise that he has been played. Suddenly, he isn’t sure who is his enemy and who are his friends.
Natalia gave him a name before dying; Mira Filipova.
Peter discovers that Mira Filipova is probably the most important surviving witness of Arkady Federov’s war crimes and the only available link to Mira is a social worker called Alice Fournier. Unfortunately, everyone else has the same idea. So now, Alice is contacted by a journalist called Edgar Simpson, a hired assassin, CIA and Peter. The hunt is well and truly on.
Predictably though, since Peter is the good guy, Alice trusts Peter – it also helps that he rescues her from the assassin. On the other hand, now that CIA has turned upon Peter, he doesn’t have his usual resources. But after all, he is “The November Man“: Nothing lives after he has passed through the area.
Rest of the action is to be enjoyed on the screen as it gives you all that a spy thriller should: adrenalin fuelled chases, a few plot twisters, a child kidnapped and held as ransom, beautiful women on display and the ‘whole civilized world against middle east’ theory on screen.
The music tracks used in Bond films – especially the title tracks – have always been special and the November Man followed the same pattern with its soundtrack album composed by Marco Beltrami. The featured songs inclued “Die this Way“, “Keep it Up“, “Gnossienne No. 3” and “Ticking Bomb“.
As enjoyable as the film is, it didn’t make as much money as expected on box office and even though a sequel was announced, it never got made. If Pierce Brosnan wanted a share of the Bond market, he didn’t quite get it. The biggest letdown for us while watching was the younger spy David Mason’s character which comes as a bit off on the screen. As much as Luke Bracey tries, he doesn’t look either convincing or very clear on his role which is written with a very vague outline. The love-hate relationship, the student-mentor chemistry that’s supposed to turn the events around, is simply not there. If this was an unconscious attempt to draw on “young man replacing old man” concept, than it doesn’t appear to have been successful at all.
Apart from that though, the film is quite enjoyable with Pierce Brosnan being his usual likeable self and if they ever made a sequel, we’ll gladly watch it.
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