© by Gerald So | geraldso.blogspot.com
I'm a fan of Bill Granger's November Man books, about veteran American spy Peter Devereaux, which ran from the late 1970s through the mid-90s. And though I am a Pierce Brosnan fan, too, I was wary the movie wouldn't work as well without the books' Cold War backdrop (See also Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit). I watched it yesterday on Netflix streaming.
The movie begins in 2008 with near-retirement Devereaux training young protegé David Mason (Luke Bracey) but soon flashes to 2013 and Devereaux's old handler Hanley (Bill Smitrovich) bringing him back to meet with a Russian spy who only trusts Devereaux. A rival faction of the CIA, working with Mason, kills the spy as Devereaux is trying to whisk her to safety. In response, Devereaux kills everyone on Mason's team, but leave Mason himself alive. Likewise, Mason decides to leave Devereaux alive.
I thought The November Man would be brisk for a spy movie, running under two hours, but there are parts that drag as Devereaux pursues his agenda and Mason tries to catch up while Hanley has his own goal in mind. That brand of intrigue was reminiscent of the books, though I don't recall the movie's specific plot from the books.
The movie was made for just over $20 million. It didn't make back its budget in the U.S. but probably did overseas. All the same, I enjoyed Brosnan as a laconic retired spy. I'd have trouble believing a retired spy would keep un-retiring.