Saturday, August 30, 2014

Movie Review: "The November Man" (2014)

Movie"The November Man"
Director: Roger Donaldson
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes
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Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) is a retired CIA operative who has just been reactivated by his old friend Hanley (Bill Smitrovich), who is still with the agency. Devereaux is told to extract a woman he was once very close to named Natalia (Mediha Musliovic), who has information as to the whereabouts of a witness to war crimes committed by Arkady Federov (Lazar Ristovski), the lead candidate for the president of Russia. It turns out Devereaux isn't the only one trying to get Natalia: both the CIA, who are unaware of Devereaux's involvement, and the Russians are out to get her as well. Once Devereaux receives the name of the witness, he locates the last person to see her alive, a social worker named Alice (Olga Kurylenko), who may very well be in great danger. As it turns out, this witness may also have information about the involvement of the CIA in these war crimes. In an attempt to get Alice for themselves, the CIA has assigned Mason (Luke Bracey), who was trained by Devereaux, to kill him and obtain Alice for the CIA. 

There seems to be a recent trend of older, more mature actors playing ass-kickers lately, and this movie doesn't deviate from that trend. Pierce Brosnan is good in the lead role of Devereaux. He performs his part well and plays a convincing older spy as he has a history with this type of character. He might not have been the best James Bond in the history of Bonds, but being chosen for that role gave Brosnan a much more convincing air about him when playing Devereaux. The same can't be said for his younger counterpart Mason, played by Luke Bracey, who has the stiffness and personality of a tree stump. He might as well have been reading his lines off of a cue card. His facial expression hardly changed throughout the film. Even when someone he cares about is in great danger, he can't bring himself to look even the slightest bit concerned for her safety.

The story itself is rather weak and is full of nonsensical twists that will leave audiences saying WTF instead of leaving them genuinely surprised. There are also a lot of plot holes and unexplained circumstances throughout the film. For example, Devereaux and Alice end up in an apartment to spy on Mason. Devereaux promptly raids the liquor cabinet and begins downing drinks. Moments later, he shows up at Mason's apartment seemingly intoxicated. There are many scenes throughout the movie that beg the question: is Devereaux an alcoholic? If so, why isn't it casually mentioned, and if not, why is he showing drinking many times in the movie? It might not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it seems to be a plot point that obviously made it into the film more than once, and yet never gets explained. Also, how and why did the neighbor's cat keep getting into Mason's abode? Was the neighbor really that desperate for a reason to talk to him? If a cat can get into Mason's apartment when he's supposed to be this intuitive, super-sleuthing CIA badass, maybe he would just, I don't know, naturally WANT to figure out how the hell the cat is getting inside his apartment, where he keeps his top secret CIA information? Maybe these incidents are explained in more detail in the book, but they sure didn't go anywhere during the film, and there are a host of other examples we won't divulge for fear of giving away the ending.

The one thing that pissed me off the most about this movie was how the character of Hanley kept calling one of the female agents interrogating him "Tits," and "Twat," and "Bitch." I usually take these comments in stride and try not to let them bother me, but it was the degrading way in which he called her these names that was disturbing. I feel like every single time she was on screen, he was calling her another name when he didn't even really need to; it was just to show how much of an ass his character was and nothing more. His character's name may as well have been Mel Gibson with that lazy and stereotypical sexist trash talk.

Another quick but unrelated point is that this movie is one that relies heavily on the use of drones, not just for filming, but as part of the plot, too. Many camera shots are obviously taken via drone, and the camera pans on them quite a few times during a car chase early on in the film. It was very noticeable and pretty creepy in a "big brother is watching you" sort of way. Beyond that, there's not really all that much to say about this movie. The story is weak and if you don't mind the ridiculous plot and Luke Bracey's terrible stump acting, there are a lot of cool, mindless action sequences, some decent fight scenes, and a few car chases to keep the audience entertained. It would be worth a cheap ticket price of admission just to sit in a cool, air conditioned theater for almost 2 hours.

My Rating: 5.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 32%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.
One year ago, we were watching: "Closed Circuit"


  1. I was totally wondering how that cat kept getting into his apartment! It would have made more sense if their apartments were side by side... like... maybe through the fire escape into his window (but why would he leave his window open). And I felt like those two had zero chemistry anyway. So, I expected zero from this movie but it was still enjoyable to me since I didn't expect anything out of it (I didn't choose this movie, obviously, haha)!

    1. Haha! Sometimes it's the movies we don't pick that we're the most surprised by, but not this one. I also thought that no one in this movie had any chemistry whatsoever. I wonder what's next for Mr. Bond!