“The November Man” is a 2014 American spy film, directed by Roger Donaldson (“The Bank Job”, “The Recruit”).
The movie is based on the 1979 book “There Are No Spies”, written by the late Bill Granger, a Chicago based novelist who wrote a number of political thrillers whilst also contributing to the Chicago Tribune newspaper.
The film opens in 2008 with CIA officer Peter Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan – “Die Another Day”, “The Ghost”) working on an operation with his partner / pupil David Mason (Luke Bracey – “G.I. Joe Retaliation”) to protect a US Ambassador in Montenegro.
After an innocent child’s life is lost when his Mason doesn’t follow his orders, Devereaux retires to open a coffee shop in Switzerland.
Five years later, Devereaux’s former CIA boss, John Hanley (Bill Smitrovich – “Ted”, “Iron Man”) visits him in Switzerland and persuades him to come back on board to extract a CIA officer, Natalia Ulanova (Mediha Musliovic – “Estrellita”) who has been working undercover in Russia as aide to former Russian army General Arkady Federov (Lazar Ristovski – “Casino Royale”). Fedorov is now a Russian presidential candidate and Ulanova has found information on a witness who can connect Federov to war crimes relating to the second Chechen war.
Unknown to Devereaux, Hanley has sent a separate team to extract the Ulanova, who are, in turn, unaware of Devereaux’s presence. The extraction goes wrong. When the FSB give chase, Devereaux is able to pick Ulanova up, but the CIA team are ordered by Hanley’s boss Perry Weinstein (Will Patton – “No Way Out”) to eliminate her – fearing she has fallen into the hands of the Russians. Before she dies, Ulanova hands information regarding the witness, named as Mira Filipova, to Devereaux.
Devereaux calls Hanley with the witness’s name and then chases down to CIA extraction team, only to find himself face to face with his former pupil, Mason. Both stunned, they walk away will become enbroiled in a desperate and complicated game of cat and mouse.
Discovering that Filipova, who seems to have disappeared several years prior, has links to refugee case worker Alice Fournier (Olga Kurylenko – “Quantum Of Solace, “Hitman”), Devereaux tracks her down, just ahead of an assassin sent by Federov.
With Mason, now under orders from Weinstein, hot on his trail, Devereaux must try to locate Filipova and obtain her evidence even as he tries to make sense of who he can trust…
Brosnan announced his intention to bring “The November Man” to the big screen in 2005, following his being replaced with Daniel Craig in the James Bond film franchise. However, it wasn’t until 2013 that the film entered production.
Part James Bond movie (hardly surprising with Brosnan in the lead spy role!), part Jason Bourne, part conspiracy theory, this is a good, solid thriller. The plot is complex, in terms of who has what agenda, as both friends and enemies appear to be equally untrustworthy, but this just adds to the suspense of the movie.
Not the most original concept for a film – but then, is there any scenario involving spies, car chases, beautiful women, double crossing, guns, etc. that hasn’t already been done? There may be further movies to come, as the Devereaux character appeared in a number of Granger novels, and I, for one, would be more than happy to see that happen as I was thoroughly entertained throughout this film and found the plot pretty credible.