Movie Review: The November Man

Jean-Paul’s Rating: 2/5 stars

Bottom Line: Weak, confusing plot.  Some half decent action.  Every spy thriller trope known to man is thrown at the screen and nothing sticks.

Spy thrillers require a suspension of disbelief.  Violence is used at a drop of a hat.  Near misses are just around every corner.  Complicated plans are used to solve complicated problems that would never exist in real life.  “The November Man” contains all of that, but the plot makes it very hard to suspend your disbelief.

Spy thrillers seem to come in two varieties these days; master versus student and come with me if you want to live.  With “The November Man” we get both.  Pierce Brosnan plays Deveraux, the master spy, and does a decent enough job of it for the material he is given.  Deveraux is calm, cold, and collected.  His student, Mason (Luke Bracey) is bold, brash, and something else that begins with the letter B.  In the intro, Mason does something bold and brash against the instructions of Deveraux, who is pretending to be a high value assassination target despite not looking anything like the target.  Assassins must be hard to find these days because one would think the number one rule of assassination is to know the face of your target.  This sets the stage for a recurring theme in the movie about people’s motivations being completely unclear almost all the time.

We then fast-forward some years to Deveraux in retirement and being visited by his old handler who wants him to do just one more mission (trope!).  The mission is to help a woman escape (come with me if you want to live) from Russia with valuable data that will jeopardize Federov’s (the next Russian President) political ambitions.  During this rescue attempt, Deveraux runs into his old student, Mason, and events put them on opposite sides.

Deveraux leaves Russia with only the name of the woman who has the information to bring Federov down.  This leads to yet another come with me if you want to live situation.  Unlike the first damsel in distress (trope!), this second one has absolutely no reason to believe Deveraux and yet she follows him lambishly.  What then follows is a series of chases and plot twists that don’t really make much sense.  You have bad guys being put back into power on the flimsiest of excuses, good guys turning against the bad guys and suffering no consequences despite the bad guys being in absolute power, women making extremely poor decisions so we can have yet another damsel in distress situation, information that has been kept secret for decades suddenly being brought to light afer a very brief database search, and yet another damsel in distress used to bring everyone back together.

As you can see, “The November Man” is quite the mess.  My recommendation is to go see another Pierce Brosnan spy movie.  “The Thomas Crown Affair”, for example.