So will they call the sequel The December man?
“The November Man” stars Pierce Brosnan as an ex-CIA agent called back into action by the need to protect a key witness that could break an important international case. His return finds himself opposed by the CIA, and one of it’s operatives, who just happens to be one of his own former trainees. Adventure and intrigue ensue as the two of them face off while trying to figure out the truth. It’s about as James Bond a scenario as you can put on the big screen without actually having lawyers come after you for copyright infringement and Brosnan must feel right at home.
It’s been over a decade since Pierce played Bond, but you can tell he thinks he’s still got the chops to do it. And he’s not all wrong. In fact, in my opinion, Brosnan is actually the best thing about the movie. To be honest, I kinda miss him as a secret agent, and he does a great job here playing the perfect balance of a cool operator and aggressive truth seeker that it takes to drive a movie like this. Plus, he has a decent underlying plot structure to build off here as well. The twists and turns feel mostly organic and the way we learn the truth about this witness and her importance feels progressive and natural. Which is great, as long as the movie does it’s job of giving us reasons to care about the people involved. And here’s where it starts to fall apart.
We just aren’t connected to these characters. Part of this has to do with the fact that the movie lacks focus. The entire feel of it is just too loose and includes too many different subplots and relationship cues. The result of which is that we are never sure where our investment should reside. By the time we learn about the key pressure point for our agent, we’ve already been asked to care about his love for a woman, his overseeing of a new charge, his retirement from the agency, and his mentorship of a pupil. It just fractures the emotion. For me I would have focused on the pupil/mentor stuff and cut the rest, as that seemed where the most energy and interest came from, and it could have kept the movie feeling much more tight and on track. Plus the whole thing had an over serious tone and a few action scenes that felt straight out of a B-movie handbook. Add that to a handful of plot cliches and you start to see how it just doesn’t hold together.
At the end of the day, “The November Man” is a decent plot without the focus to keep it interesting. Even with some decent performances, especially by a capable Brosnan the movie can’t escape with more than a C