November Man, director by spy thriller veteran, Roger Donaldson (The Bank Job, The Recruit), based on the first in a thirteen part book series by author Bill Granger, is about a retied CIA operative, Peter Devereaux (Pierce Bronson; Goldeneye, Thomas Crown Affair), who gets pulled back into the field one more time for a final mission that is very personel.
Putting a modern spin on a cold war era story, The November Man, Devereaux, must use his years of tradecraft to protect a Chechnya refugee, Alice Fournier, (Olga Kurylenko; Quantum of Solace, Hitman) from various agencies and countries trying to assassinate her because of the information she knows. To makes matters more difficult Devereaux's old protégé, David Mason (Luke Bracey; G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Point Break), is tasked with bringing down Devereaux.
While the film takes many elements from other spy-crafted thrillers- Bourne and Bond come to mind- Roger Donaldson gives it a spin of it's own, delving deeper into the characters psyche and what secrets of their past drive their actions. Gone are all the flashy fantasy elements sometime associated with these dramatizations, and they are replaced by fast moving action, great plot twists, and some amazing chase scenes.
Pierce Bronson does a wonderful job embodying Peter Deveraux,, give him such a breath of life that it feels like his character could actually exist in today's world. It is almost as you see him putting all the pieces of a puzzle together to escape any trap set up for him. Kurylenko easily walks through her part as the damsel in distress, but she proves to have more depth that the typical spy thriller eye candy. The only actor who's performance was a bit wooden was that of Luke Bracey, he seemed to be reading his lines and not adding much emotion to his part. Since he really has not had much work to his name yet, hopefully we gets better with age and experience.
Aside from the main cast of characters, the strong supporting cast including Bill Smitrovich (Air Force One), Eliza Taylor (The 100), Caterina Scorsone (Grey's Anatomy), and Will Patton (Armageddon) helps add realism to the world of The November Man, by continuing to flesh out the world with their skillfull take on their respective characters.
The cinematography by Romain Lacourbas (Taken 2), and direction by Donnaldson never let you catch your breath in this tale. Between the breathtaking shots that look like they are from straight off a Blu-ray disc, to suspenseful shots that keep you on jumping and on the edge of your seat. You will not snooze one second in this film.
Mind you November Man is a strong R rated film. With extremely realistic bloody scenes and it's fair share of nudity. However, if you are a male between the ages 30-60 this is the film you want to see this Labor Day weekend. While most of my colleagues appear to have written off this film, as another entry in the ever crowded spy genre, I think it I the perfect swan song for the summer of 2014. And who knows, if successful Pierce Bronson may find life as a spy even after James Bond.