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Times of India
An expert former CIA agent is coaxed out of retirement to return to the international circuit for one more secretive and needless to say, dangerous mission. But in the tangled world of international espionage, who can he trust?
Peter Devereaux (Brosnan) is the cool-headed but hardened CIA killer and a veteran of many international espionage missions while his protege David Mason (Bracey) is impulsive and has an easy trigger finger. The flashback opening shows Mason botch a mission that he and Devereaux are on, by shooting a civilian. Things subsequently get a bit messy between the two. This is when the teacher-student relationship goes sour. This messed-up dynamic underscores much of the rest of the film.
In the present, Deveraux is coaxed out of his isolation in picturesque Switzerland by a handler called John Hanley (Smitrovich) and tasked to protect and escort a woman out of Russia. She knows the dirt on one Arkady Federov (Ristovski), who is to become the next Russian president. The whole thing goes awry however in true thriller movie style when Mason enters the scene again. Additionally, the woman Devereaux is assigned to protect is killed by an assassin. But as luck would have it, Devereaux finds another woman called Alice (Kurylenko) who has various secrets of her own.
Amidst the many gunfights and car chases on narrow roads, a bit of tough love-style romance is hinted at between Devereaux and Alice. While Mason still subconsciously seeks Devereaux's approval, he also nurses a lethal grudge. Jibes are exchanged between the two; they even manage snatches of nasty phone conversations between chases.
Donaldson has an impressive pedigree when it comes to this genre (*The Recruit* and *The Bank Job* to name a few) but he doesn't inject much in terms of innovation in this by-the-numbers spy thriller. The sometimes-cluttered plot aside, this slickly-shot film manages to pass muster. A big reason why you might want to see this film is because Pierce Brosnan is in it. And indeed, it is on his able shoulders that this movie rests.
'The November Man' is based on a book 'There Are No Spies' written by Bill Granger that is the seventh installment in the 'The November Man' series of books that were published in 1987.
The film is directed by Roger Donaldson who has previously worked with Pierce Brosnan in the film 'Dante's Peak'.