Granger on Movies: 'The November Man'
Published 4:29 pm, Saturday, September 6, 2014
Beginning in 2008 in Montenegro on the shores of Lake Geneva, retired CIA agent Peter Deveraux (Pierce Brosnan) is recruited back into service by John Hanley (Bill Smitrovich), his former handler. When there's a lethal glitch in the mission, Devereaux reluctantly finds himself pitted against his own trigger-happy protege, David Mason (Aussie actor Luke Bracey), while attempting to protect a relief agency worker, Alice Fournier (Olga Kurylenko), in Belgrade. She has evidence that could jeopardize the ambitions of a misogynistic, Putin-like politician named Federov (Lazar Ristovski), who seems to be next in line for the Russian presidency.
As this curiously convoluted espionage plot unfolds, involving the Russian-Chechnyan conflict, their paths cross with a former CIA double-agent with whom Deveraux once had a significant romantic relationship, a bumbling New York Times reporter, and a ruthless Russian assassin.
Generically adapted and updated by Michael Finch and Karl Gajdusek from "There Are No Spies" (1986), the seventh book in Bill Granger's Peter Devereaux series, it's formulaically directed by Roger Donaldson ("No Way Out," "Thirteen Days"), leaving Brosnan, who should know better, uttering ridiculous lines like, "Don't put your faith in me. I promise I'll disappoint you." Unfortunately, it's not too difficult to spot Brosnan's stunt double in some of the more dangerous combat sequences.
The rights to film this spy thriller were acquired by Brosnan and his Irish Dream Time partner, Beau St. Clair, more than 10 years ago, when Brosnan retired from playing 007, aka British Secret Service Agent James Bond. (He followed Sean Connery and Roger Moore in the iconic role and was succeeded by Daniel Craig.)
It's Brosnan's world-weary performance that tips the scale on this saga of international intrigue, since Kurylenko was a Bond girl in "Quantum of Solace" (2008).
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The November Man" is a slick 'n' sturdy 6, stumbling only occasionally.