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Phuket Film Review: The November Man

The November Man is, at best, an outing of one of the 20th century’s most charismatic TV and movie stars (remember Remington Steele on TV?). An ex-Bond star with the credentials and star power to pack in an audience. But Pierce Brosnan, who features in most of this new action flick, left most of his charisma back in the last century. He certainly didn’t bring a lot of it to this project, one he partly funded himself.

By Tim Newton

Saturday 13 September 2014, 11:00AM

There seems plenty to like about this film but it disappoints at most levels. The plot is confusing, I won’t even try to explain. So confusing that you really feel you must watch until the end so it all comes together with an “aha” moment. It doesn’t. Some movies are confusing because they pack so much information into the 100 minute running time. The November Man is confusing because they simply don’t explain things, at all. It’s ostensibly a spy thriller’ but leaves us to do most of the detective work. I felt like I was on the trapeze without a trampoline.

Written back in the 1970s (the original novel was called There Are No Spies), The November Man was a series of novels that I never heard of. Maybe it should have remained that way. Pierce Brosnan held the rights for the novel and decided to exercise his options after a few false starts with funding. And other problems with… funding. 

Yes, The November Man stars Pierce Brosnan. That’s about it in the star stakes. Luke Bracey plays the main protagonist and Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace and Oblivion) is in the cast because she’s very beautiful – I couldn’t detect any other reason. The screenplay written by Michael Finch and Karl Gajdusek with the slick and over-directed direction from Roger Donaldson, known for Species, The Recruit and The Bank Job. He previously worked with Brosnan in Dante’s Peak (remember that turkey?!). Beau St. Clair once again teams up with Brosnan to co-produce the film.

Okay, enough negativity. It does look expensive – most of the filming taken place around Belgrade and in Montenegro (because Prosnan acting as co-producer said shooting in Berlin would be too expensive). Oh, I’m being negative again.

Wrapped up in post Cold-War politics, it’s a muddled story with lots of violence, lots of swearing and lots of slow-motion because it looks like the cameraman told the director that the camera had a slo-mo feature. So they used a lot of slow motion.

But don’t listen to me, listen to the critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a roasting at 35 per cent (of good reviews).

The saddest part of the whole film is that my favourite Bond has found himself tearing around eastern Europe in this cinematic mess. Oh, how the best 007 has discounted himself to a 001. By the time it gets around to November, we won’t be talking about The November Man.



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