It’s Pierce Brosnan as an ex-spy. How can you go wrong?
Well…apparently you can. I don’t think it was him or his role in The November Man. But there were different things in this film that were definitely lacking, making a simple spy movie with the brilliant Brosnan fall short. Some are small things. Others are rather large.
But some quick changes could have made this a great movie, even thought it is still a 3 star film. Here is how I would fix The November Man.
First, the title. Not that this is a bad title. The issue is that it doesn’t make sense in the context of the film. Towards the end of the movie, the villain mentions how Brosnan was always called the November Man (at some point off screen) because he would always be there in the 11th hour and bring the hammer, or chaos, or the people killing.
Referencing things that never happened on screen can tricky. Sometimes it works, like a monologue about past events, or establishing a connection between characters. But when it is not at all connected to what you have seen in the last two hours, it’s a mistake.
If Brosnan was supposed to be the November Man, and then that idea be played on and played out in the final act of the film, it needed to be something that was mentioned, if not fully fleshed out in the beginning of the movie.
Unfortunately, this was not the case.
Second, declutter the plot. Brosnan is a spy that retired after his protégé accidentally killed a child. Then there is a Russian politician involved in child abduction and sex trafficking. Then an American politician is involved in creating a puppet Russian government, and a particular sex trafficked girl is at the heart of it. But you don’t know who she is until the last 40 minutes of the movie.
It’s a lot of “get Brosnan”…then “wait, what is he doing?”….then “get Brosnan”….then “kill that guy so Brosnan doesn’t find out.”
I’m not blaming any of this on the actors themselves. This is a writing problem. Too much is happening. If you want to make it a teacher/student spy movie, do that. If you want to make it a spy/government conspiracy do that. If you want to remake Taken without Liam Neeson, do that. But pick one. Or work on making it clear who is who and what their motivations are for doing anything in this movie. If I don’t know who the characters are or what they are doing, I’m going to stop caring about this movie really quickly.
This isn’t a terrible movie. Like I said at the beginning, this is a 3 out of 5 star movie. Some nice action, the locations are new (which is refreshing, too many spy movies happen in New York, LA, or London), and Brosnan wasn’t a knock-off Bond. But The November Man could have been better.
That Is How To Fix It!