“The November Man” — A Slice of SciFi Review

When I first saw the trailer for The November Man I wanted to see the movie — it seemed like my cuppa. And that means lots of action and good-looking men on screen, with a storyline that I wouldn’t spend the entire movie hating. I went in with some expectations: that it would be Old Bond training New Bond, or similar. And in some ways, that expectation was right. But The November Man is more of a cross between the first Mission: Impossible movie and the original The Mechanic. With a hell of a lot of Bond in there, too, of course.

Based on the novel There are No Spies by Bill Granger (the seventh in “The November Man” series), The November Man starts fast and stays that way. I was literally on the edge of my seat for two hours. And it absolutely had my requirement for visual entertainment met in both Pierce Brosnan, looking amazing for his age, and Luke Bracey, merely looking amazing. There are a ton of attractive women in this movie, too, particularly Olga Kurylenko, as the woman who’s the key to finding the person necessary to bring down the bad guys, and Eliza Taylor, as Bracey’s love interest.

Peter Devereaux (Brosnan) is pulled out of retirement not really for one last job but to save the woman who, we quickly realize, was the love of his life. This being a spy movie, naturally things go wrong quickly. There are crosses and double crosses, action that takes place all over Europe, and what’s probably a very real depiction of how drones are used for surveillance. (More on this later.) There are some twists you may see coming, some twists you expect that don’t happen, and a few that may surprise you.

Everyone in this movie other than Brosnan gives you a feeling of “I know them, but who are they?” Whether you can remember their names or not, the actors all do a really good job. While this is Brosnan’s movie, Bracey – who looks like a lost Hemsworth brother (and I mean that as a total compliment) — has a lot of the movie riding on him as Mason, Devereaux’s protégé, and he does a great job with it. Same with Kurylenko — if you don’t buy her character the movie fails, and she was great.

In fact, my only quibble with the movie came about not while I was watching it, but while I was thinking how I was going to write up my review, meaning when I stopped to think about the plot, and it’s the reason this movie didn’t get an A. The use of drones for surveillance is used well – a bit too well. Because the plot hinges dramatically on Devereaux and his love having managed to hide something from all of the C.I.A. If there had been an explanation for how they’d managed it, okay. If there had been an explanation that all the C.I.A. other than Mason knew, so that when Mason shares his findings, there was a “nice of you to catch up, kid” moment, that would also have been fine. However, we’re apparently to buy that the agencies spying on these people’s every moves missed this one, gigantic thing, and I can’t buy it. (And yes, I’m being purposefully vague.)

However, that one quibble aside, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and the hubs did, too, which is something of a rarity, us both liking a movie and at about the same level. If you like spy movies, action movies, Pierce Brosnan, or need a Bond fix before the next one comes out — or any combination thereof — definitely go see The November Man.

Rating: B+

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