Even though cliches abound (even from the opening lines, “If you want a relationship, get a dog”), THE NOVEMBER MAN overcomes its issues by relying on good old-fashioned practical effects and double crosses. The hard hitting action sequences consist of car crashes and fist fights, with a pleasing lack of impossible gadgets driven by CGI.
An arresting opener sets up a difficult relationship between a pair of anti-hero spies, who end up working on the same case but from different angles, possibly even from different sides. Luke Bracey plays “Mason”, a young hotshot spy in training under the tutelage of Pierce Brosnan’s “Peter Devereaux”, a world-weary spy known as the November Man, since nothing survives him. Olga Kurylenko plays a way-too pretty social worker named “Alice” who is being chased by spies who need the secrets she possesses, and by assassins who wish her to keep her secrets quiet. The characters are flawed and layered, as even the good guys think any means justify their ends; the same way the antagonists believe. Thankfully, the twists and turns are well-explained, and one final happy-ending cliche is avoided. And in a similar vein as “Clear And Present Danger”, even Our Side needs to be taught a lesson or two. And Brosnan’s Devereaux is just the man to do it.
Directed by: Roger Donaldson
Written by: Michael Finch and Karl Gajdusek (screenplay), Bill Granger (book “There Are No Spies”)