Thursday Night Movie Club
The November Man
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Release Date: 27 August 2014

Director: Roger Donaldson
Pierce Brosnan
Luke Bracey
Olga Kurylenko
Bill Smitrovich
Amila Terzimehic
Lazar Ristovski
Mediha Musliovic
Eliza Taylor
Caterina Scorsone
Akie Kotabe
Will Patton
Patrick Kennedy
Dragan Marinkovic
Ben Willens
Milos Timotijevic
Arkady Federov
Natalia Ulanova
Perry Weinstein
Edgar Simpson
Agent Jones
Federov's Chief of Staff
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Pierce Brosnan as Devereaux in The November ManThe November Man is a complex action/intrigue film. By the end, the film answers all of the questions. The story isn't too complicated to dicipher.

Pierce Brosnan stars as ex-C.I.A. operative Devereaux. Devereaux is called back to the service by his former handler Hanley (Bill Smitrovich). Hanley has a special job that only Devereaux can handle. Undercover operative Celia (Caterina Scorsone) has vital information on Arkady Federov. Federov is all but assured of becoming the next Russian President. The information could jeopardize his chances. Devereaux is tasked with extracting Celia and retrieving the vital information.

Just as Celia makes her break and rendezvous with a C.I.A. extraction team, her cover is blown. A high-speed chase between Celia, the C.I.A. and the Russian police forces ensues. Just before she is captured, Devereaux arrives to whisk Celia to safety.

Pierce Brosnan as Devereaux in The November ManEvents get complicated in a heart beat. The C.I.A. extraction team has no idea Devereaux is there. Devereaux has no idea there is already an extraction team in place. What on Earth is going on. The C.I.A. director running the extraction panics and decides Celia must now be eliminated before she can pass along her information to this "stranger". Celia is assassinated by Mason (Luke Bracey), who was Devereaux's protege. Before Celia dies, she passes along the information... a single name: Mila Filipova. Who is she? Why is the C.I.A. looking for her? What does she have to do with... with... with anything?

Celia's death makes this mission personal for Devereaux. He will find the answers come hell or high water!

Patrick Kennedy and Olga Kurylenko in The November ManNew York Times reporter Edgar Simpson (Patrick Kennedy) is investigating Federov. He is very close to revealing the truth behind Federov. Simpson has run into a snag. Mila Filipova is a person for whom Simpson is searching. She is somehow linked to Federov. Simpson enlists the aid of social worker Alice Fournier (Olga Kurylenko). Alice helps displaced Chechins find refuge in Serbia. Fournier remembers Filipova but she stopped coming to the center. Fournier has no recent information on Filipova's whereabouts.

Federov has his own agenda. After Celia's betrayal, Federov hires assassin Alexa (Amila Terzimehic) to eliminate anyone connected to Federov's past. Also targeted is anyone looking into his past. Fournier, Simpson and Filipova are all on her hit list.

After the botched extraction, Hanley is immediately taken into custody and interrogated. Why did he bring in Devereaux? Why didn't he tell anyone that Devereaux was on the scene? Haney reports to Perry Weinstein (Will Patton). Weinstein isn't as concerned with answers as much as he wants to make dead sure Mason is up to the task of eliminating Devereaux.

Olga Kurylenko as Alice Fournier in The November ManMason is fighting his own demons. The November Man begins with Devereaux and his protege Mason on a mission to protect a U.S. Ambassador. Intelligence leads them to believe the Ambassador is targeted for assassination. Devereaux impersonates the Ambassador. Mason, armed with a sniper rifle, is tasked with locating the assassin and protecting Devereaux. When the assassin strikes, Devereaux orders Mason not to fire. Mason disobeys the direct order resulting in the death of an innocent child.

Devereaux's assessment of Mason is to drop Mason as an operative. Mason is kept on at the C.I.A. because of his expert marksmanship. His dilemma is whether or not he can kill his teacher.

Pierce Brosnan through his production company Irish DreamTime purchased the movie rights to the November Man series written by Chicago author Bill Granger. Serving as executive producer and lead actor, Brosnan doesn't disappoint.

Director Roger Donaldson does an excellent job telling the complicated story in a way that makes perfect sense by the conclusion. The action sequences are intense. The suspense is palpable. The extraction mission at the film's beginning changes from exciting to suspenseful to sadness. Celia knows her cover is blown. With the Russian security forces in hot pursuit, she barely escapes. However, the extraction plan goes right out the window. Celia's rescue by Devereaux changes the situation in a heart beat. Celia is no longer deemed an asset. She is a liability that must be removed. Donaldson, visually and verbally, consisely sets up the complex plot.

creenwriters Michael Finch and Karl Gajdusek also do an excellent job telling the story. The novel was probably very difficult to pare down to a final shooting script. They allow Donaldson leeway to visually tell the story.

Pierce Brosnan as Devereaux in The November ManOne great suspenseful sequence comes when N.Y. Times investigative reporter Simpson, assassin Alexa and Devereaux all cross paths with Alice Fournier at a restaurant. Trying to lure Alice from the restaurant to assassinate her, Alexa, disguised as a waitress, informs Alice she has a phone call and that there is no cell service. Devereaux, just outside the restaurant, spots the assassin and calls Alice on her cell phone.

Alice finds herself squarely in the middle of a situation she knows nothing about. A complete stranger calls her cell phone to tell her the waitress is actually an assassin. Who would you trust in this situation? Alice has only a few seconds to decide.

Pierce Brosnan is excellent as Peter Devereaux. Brosnan plays Devereaux as cunning, skillful, resourceful, emotional, caring, and sadistic. Devereaux can still handle himself in gunfights, hand-to-hand combat, interrogations all while trying to solve the main question, "What in the world is going on here?"

Devereaux constantly warns his protege Mason to not get into a relationship. The woman you fall for is suddenly placed in jeopardy. She can be exploited, tortured and possibly killed as a means to get to Mason.

Luke Bracey as Mason in The November ManMason makes the mistake of falling for his neighbor Sara (Eliza Taylor), also a displaced American. Devereaux sneaks into their apartment and threatens Sara with a knife. Brosnan changes from a calm demeanor talking to Mason into a manical sadist. Brosnan's change is scary. Very scary. Devereaux threatens to slice Sara's femoral artery all while asking Mason what will he do? Will Mason save the girl's life or will he chase after Devereaux? Mason screams, "What are you doing?" Devereaux's response is a single word, "Teaching." What is that supposed to mean? The meaning becomes clear by the end causing Mason to rethink his priorities and allegiances.

The other standout performance comes from the most excellent B-actor Will Patton. Patton's calm delivery is overloaded with a dose of slime. C.I.A. Director Weinstein comes off as a scumbag. Patton's delivery is similar to being tortured by finger nails scraping a chalk board. Because of Patton's acting abilities, Weinstein is someone who is not to be trusted. But, does Mason trust him anyway?

Pierce Brosnan and Olga Kurylenko in The November ManThe November Man is a very good spy-vs-spy-vs-political agenda-vs-power struggle movie. The film is a roller-coaster ride of intense action, edge-of-your-seat suspense, a who-done-what mystery with plenty of emotional elements. Brosnan is excellent. Too bad he didn't portray James Bond with this level of intensity and mood swings.

The November Man is also much better than the Jason Bourne trilogy. Devereaux is not a super spy. He has his failings, one of which is very costly. Donaldson's action sequences are easy to follow. The Bourne chase scenes are impossible to follow. They are just a series of quick jump cuts designed to amp up the audience's heart rate.

Hopefully, Brosnan purchased the rights to other November Man novels. Devereaux is a character that warrants further adventures. Until then, enjoy The November Man.