Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway
The November Man
In Roger Donaldson's "The November Man", Pierce Brosnan has a solid outing in the time honored genre of the spy / hit man film. Here Brosnan plays an aging agent and "fixer", Peter Devereaux. He is sent to keep a watch over things, including the despicable and sadistic Federov (Lazar Ristovski) who has a repulsive past. When Devereaux's agent / wife gets shot, Devereaux, understandably has a death wish of sorts. His young disciple, David Mason (Luke Bracey) is working for a rival agency up to no good.
Brosnan is a steady as iron compassionate savage, if that makes sense. As a parallel to The Bourne films, the action is tense and apprehensive with Devereaux using his James Bond and even Macgyver wiles, usually involving explosives.
Brosnan and Bracey deliver the bone crunching goods with some thrilling Saturday matinee chasing. The earnest and surprised Kurylenko does well too, as a smoky mascara femme fatale who is driven to brutally avenge a warlord and sex criminal.
There is also a sinister female killer Alexa ( Amila Terzimehic) who is as scary as Daniel Craig in a bad mood.
The film falters a bit, however, by being conventional. Brosnan does a good job doing his tight and terse act, but his emotions don't vary much; he is beaten and battered, bruised and wincing throughout. David Mason, while showing himself a nihilistic prick at the story's beginning is neither anti-hero nor angel. With a promising start, his manner never really surprises. He is a bit of a blank slate. A machine in the image of Matt Damon. After a well done and jumpy prologue of twin father against twin son, the narrative goes thru a bit of a checklist routine of bond-able moments (the hunted man, the sultry girl, the evil kingpin etc).
If you are in the mood for a cat-and-mouse thriller that shadow boxes and delivers the punch on time, "The November Man" does well in spite of some gratuitous, slow motion blood gushing.
But for the more edgy among us, you will search in vain every nook and cranny from Montenegro to Milan for a more satisfying and ambiguous battle of wills between spy versus spy.
Write Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org