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Movie review: 'November Man' nothing to fall for as summer winds down

Why wasn’t a movie titled The November Man released in a more suitable month such as, oh, November?

Pierce Brosnan is a former CIA operative in "The November Man."
Pierce Brosnan is a former CIA operative in "The November Man."Relativity Media

The answer: primarily because movie studios, even ones as small as the one releasing this one, kind of like to make money during the holiday movie season. November Man, a film Pierce Brosnan really makes a go at elevating, is getting dumped on the no-man’s land of Labor Day Weekend.

There exists a perfectly plausible reason for that – it’s not very good. In fact, it occasionally teeters into out and out bad territory only to be saved by the grace of Brosnan.

So what’s the problem with November Man – Brosnan excepted? Just about everything else, but especially co-star Luke Bracey, an Aussie looking for success in American films.

Bracey isn’t particularly bad, but he’s about as engaging as a mannequin. He generates no spark, no electricity and shows little in the way of charm. If you’re playing against Brosnan, bring your A-game. There’s a scene in the film where Brosnan, who portrays Bracey’s mentor, is taunting him about how the old man is beating him. Yup, that applies to the film as well.

Brosnan portrays Peter Devereaux, a CIA operative brought out of retirement to bring a spy in for debriefing and for her own safety. Of course, you just know there’s something else between him and the spy who apparently loved him.

He eventually realizes that his own employer took her out and he will be the object of their desire next. They send his former protégé David (Bracey) to do the job, but he doesn’t possess the aptitude for the gig.

In the meantime Devereaux is left to unwind a mystery that involves a Russian politician with delusions of grandeur. It’s all linked to a young lady named Alice (Olga Kurylenko) who could provide key evidence against the politician.

If this all sounds like a heaping hot mess, that’s because it is. Based on a novel by Bill Granger entitled There Are No Spies and adapted by Michael Finch and Karl Gajdusek, there’s a kernel of a decent story here that’s botched by convoluted storytelling courtesy of director Roger Donaldson, a filmmaker known for a couple of decent films – Thirteen Days and The World’s Fastest Indian.

Movie: The November Man
Director: Roger Donaldson
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Luke Bracey, Bill Smitrovich
Studio: Relativity
Rated: R for strong violence including a sexual assault, language, sexuality/nudity and brief drug use.
Running time: 108 minutes
George’s rating: 2.5-of-5
Check for theaters and showtimes at Atlas Cinemas, Cleveland Cinemas, Fandango.com and MovieTickets.com