The name’s Devereaux. Peter Devereaux.
After four tours of duty as James Bond, actor Pierce Brosnan returns to the spy thriller game with this weekend’s “The November Man,” an adaptation of the Bill Granger novel “There Are No Spies.” It follows a retired CIA spook who returns to the shadowy world of bullets, broads and betrayals, after several years away from the action — not unlike Brosnan’s own career.
For fans eager to see if Brosnan still has the rogue charm he brought to his years as Agent 007, expect to walk away pleased. But there are other reasons why “The November Man” might not work out as well as some would hope. Read on for a collection of reviews:
“After a mission gone wrong, CIA agent Peter Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) is pretty much retired until years later when his wife is killed in another mission gone wrong and he’s pulled back onto the job when a Bosnian politician named Fedrov (Lazar Ristovski) plots to get rid of anyone who may know about his war crimes, particularly the rape of young women, including a witness Devereaux needs to find and protect before she’s also killed.” — Edward Douglas, Coming Soon
The Good News
“‘The November Man’ is a nasty piece of work — the kind of movie where it’s not enough for a bad guy to get a sniper’s bullet through the brain in close-up; he also has to smash his head against the side of a boat as his lifeless body plummets to the water. (He’s on a boat.) Based on the late author Bill Granger’s popular series of Cold War–era espionage novels, this thriller, updated for our times and starring Pierce Brosnan as Granger’s CIA agent hero Bill Devereaux, is appropriately pulpy — fuss-free and fast. If it doesn’t transcend its genre origins, I suspect it’s because it doesn’t want to.” — Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine’s Vulture
The Good And Bad News
“If you’re like me and wanted to see ‘The November Man’ solely for Pierce Brosnan as a super spy, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is, Brosnan hasn’t lost a step since his days playing James Bond, and even at 60, he’s still got the sexy swagger you fell in love with in ‘GoldenEye.’ The bad news? ‘The November Man’ is nowhere near up to snuff for Brosnan’s undeniable screen presence. The script is a complete mess, and the character Brosnan plays, Peter Devereaux, is wildly inconsistent, to the point that sometimes you’ll be wondering if you should root for him at all.” — Max Nicholson, IGN Movies
The Bad News
“There’s no way around this: ‘The November Man’ is asinine. It is not without its pleasures – if you like seeing people get hit in the face with shovels, that is – but it might be the most irresponsibly dumb spy thriller I’ve seen in some time. It seems we can’t go a week without another mid-budget action film from a slew of international producers, a recognizable face out front practically bullying us to make a Redbox rental. (Holding a gun and scowling usually reduces me to ‘yes, sir’ obedience.) Unlike the ‘Expendables’ or ‘Getaway’ or any number of Nicolas Cage flicks, you can at least rationalize that this one is a slight cut above the others. If those are McDonald’s and Burger King, this one is at least The Olive Garden — it’s no less recycled, but the existence of a cloth napkin allows for the facade of decency.” — Jordan Hoffman, The Guardian
The Final Word
“Even a decade after he turned in his Bond badge, Brosnan, 61, still has the goods. He’s convincing, and still dashing, as a world-weary assassin who yearns for a simpler life. It’s just too bad he’s forced to maneuver this rather clunky vehicle. He deserves better.
“‘November Man’ is not quite dead on arrival. But the generic espionage tale would be a goner if not for Brosnan’s invigorating performance.” — Claudia Puig, USA Today
“The November Man” is in theaters now.