The November Man is a 2014 American spy thriller based on the novel There Are No Spies by Bill Granger, which is canonically the seventh installment in The November Man novel series, published in 1987. It stars Pierce Brosnan, Luke Bracey and Olga Kurylenko with the screenplay written by Michael Finch and Karl Gajdusek. The film is directed by Roger Donaldson, who previously worked with Brosnan on 1997's Dante's Peak. Beau St. Clair once again teams up with Brosnan to co-produce the film.
Veteran CIA officer Peter Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) supervises a young operative David Mason (Luke Bracey) in a mission to protect a US Ambassador in Montenegro. Mason disobeys Devereaux's orders not to fire on an assassin in a crowd and accidentally kills a child.
Five years later, Devereaux is retired in Lausanne, Switzerland, operating a lakeside cafe. His former boss, John Hanley (Bill Smitrovich), unexpectedly shows up and convinces him to extract a woman, Natalia Ulanova, the aide of a Russian presidential candidate and former Army General Arkady Fedorov. She knows the name of a witness who can connect Fedorov to war crimes. Hanley says Natalia requested Peter's help in the extraction out of Russia. Hanley also reveals that Fedorov's personal assassin, Alexa, is assigned to murder his former associates.
Natalia breaks into Fedorov's safe and copies old photos depicting a disheveled young girl with a younger Fedorov. She escapes and contacts the CIA extraction team. However, Fedorov alerts the FSB, who pursue Natalia through the streets of Moscow until Peter arrives and rescues her. Natalia, though surprised to see Peter, gives him a name, Mira Filipova, which Peter relays to Hanley.
Mason's team thinks Natalia is about to be captured by the Russians. CIA station chief, Perry Weinstein (Will Patton), gives the order to kill Natalia overruling Hanley's objections. Mason shoots Natalia who hands Peter her phone containing the copied photos as she dies. Peter intercepts and kills the CIA team until he faces Mason at gunpoint. Equally surprised by each other's presence, Mason and Devereaux walk away. Weinstein debriefs Mason on why he did not shoot, and reveals Devereaux and Natalia were a couple. Langley targets Devereaux to be killed and Hanley forcibly detained for interrogation.
Meanwhile, New York Times reporter Edgar Simpson tracks down refugee case worker Alice Fournier (Olga Kurylenko) and requests her assistance to write an exposé of Fedorov's alleged war crimes during the 2nd Chechen War. The assassin, Alexa, arrives in Belgrade, where a contact notifies her that Alice will meet Edgar in a restaurant. Peter also arrives in Belgrade and discovers that Alice is Mira's contact and tricks the CIA into tracking Alice's phone. He rescues Alice from Alexa and Mason's CIA team. Alice says that Mira pretended to be mute to Fedorov, who sexually abused her during the war. Mira actually spoke Russian and overheard Fedorov's conversations including the 'false flag' conspiracy to bomb a Russian Army building to initiate war and seizure of Chechen oil fields. A former Fedorov associate, Denisov, confirms the conspiracy and says the CIA actually bombed the building.
Weinstein goads Mason by revealing Devereaux recommended he be dropped from the agency due to his impulsivity. Devereaux and Alice have broken into the apartment across the street from Mason's residence to observe him. Mason dates his next door neighbor Sarah (Eliza Taylor), and they become intimate. Devereaux sends away Alice with cash and disposable cell phones ordering her to go where no one can find her. Devereaux breaks into Mason's apartment, holds Sarah hostage, and tests Mason's character by cutting her femoral artery before fleeing. Mason chooses to save Sarah, instead of pursuing Peter.
Fedorov arrives in Belgrade for an energy conference. Alice meets Edger at his apartment where Alexa ambushes and kills Edgar, but Alice escapes. Peter infiltrates the CIA black site where Hanley is being held and confronts him about the CIA's involvement with Fedorov in Chechnya. Hanley claims Weinstein aided Fedorov and reveals that Alice Fournier is actually Mira Filipova. Mason discovers the real Alice Fournier died years ago and Mira stole her identity.
Mira, disguised as a prostitute, goes to Fedorov's hotel to kill him for murdering her parents before abducting and abusing her. Peter tracks her down, defeats Fedorov's security, and interrogates Fedorov using Russian Roulette forcing him to reveal the CIA agent who conspired with him. Fedorov states it was Hanley, which Alice confirms after seeing him in a photo. Peter and Mira escape from the hotel when Peter knocks out Mason and leaves him Fedorov's recorded confession. However, when Mason and Celia present the evidence against Hanley, Langley has replaced Weinstein with Hanley.
Peter tells Mira to disappear before calling his daughter, Lucy. However, Hanley answers the phone having kidnapped Lucy. Peter convinces Mira to go to a train station and wait for him. There, she goes to a public computer to write her story regarding Fedorov, crediting Edgar with the story. Alexa tracks Mira at the station, but Mira outruns, ambushes and kills her with a shovel.
Peter meets with Hanley giving him false information that Mira is at the bus station. After dispatching Mason, Hanley reveals he intends to blackmail Federov, after he becomes the Russian president, with his involvement in the false flag attacks, forcing Russia to join NATO. This would effectively eliminate competition to 'U.S. hegemony', uniting the western nations and the former Eastern Bloc to prepare for what Hanley believes, "the next up-coming war with the Middle-East". However, Celia traces the phone call to the kidnappers' location where Mason rescues Lucy. After Hanley is subdued. Peter thanks Mason for saving Lucy and escapes with his daughter to the train station uniting with Mira who has transmitted her story to the New York Times.
Later, Mira testifies at the International Criminal Court about Fedorov's war crimes and the conspiracy, sabotaging Fedorov's campaign. He is later shot in the head by an unknown sniper while relaxing on his yacht.
- Pierce Brosnan as Peter Devereaux ("The November Man")
- Luke Bracey as David Mason
- Olga Kurylenko as Alice Fournier A.K.A. Mira Filipova
- Eliza Taylor as Sarah
- Caterina Scorsone as Celia
- Bill Smitrovich as John Hanley
- Will Patton as Perry Weinstein
- Amila Terzimehić as Alexa
- Lazar Ristovski as Arkady Federov
- Mediha Musliovic as Natalia Ulanova
- Akie Kotabe as Meyers
- Patrick Kennedy as Edgar Simpson
- Dragan Marinkovic as Denisov
- Ben Willens as Agent Jones
When Pierce Brosnan was retired from playing the role of James Bond in 2005, it was reported that along with his business partner, Beau St. Clair, through their Irish DreamTime production company, he will be producing a down-to-earth spy thriller based on Bill Granger's book series called "The November Man", focusing on one particular novel in the series titled There Are No Spies, with shooting scheduled to begin in 2006. The project, however, ended up either being cancelled or was put on hold in 2007, as there were no news or any sign of an action coming out of that direction. Still, Brosnan decided to keep the screen rights to the novel which would permit him to produce the film adaptation of the book.
Eventually, in 2012, it was reported that Brosnan had the project resurrected and was put back on the trail with Dominic Cooper reportedly joining the production shortly after its announcement. In April 2013, whilst promoting his then-latest romantic comedy, Love Is All You Need, Brosnan told the media: "I am about to go off to Serbia and do my own spy movie. Finally I have the director I want in Roger Donaldson and we’re gonna do a piece called November Man so I shall jump back into that arena".
Brosnan revealed that Olga Kurylenko, who had a leading role in Quantum of Solace and the recent Oblivion, would co-star alongside him, commenting "I think there’s another room on the stage for another spy! Daniel [Craig] can’t have it all to himself. My co-star is a lovely actress called Olga Kurylenko, who seems to be going through leading men like hot dinners. She started with Daniel Craig and she’s gonna end up with Brosnan! She’s a gorgeous actress, beautiful woman. She’s in and it’s the older spy, younger spy". A month later, it was announced that shooting on the film would begin on 20 May 2013, with Luke Bracey and Bill Smitrovich joining the cast. Dominic Cooper, however, left the project to star in Need For Speed, and was replaced with Bracey in the role of the main character's protege. In June 2013, it was reported that Will Patton and Caterina Scorsone joined the cast, the former will be playing an old-school senior CIA operative while the latter is being described as "ambitious up-and-comer".
Principal photography began on May 20, 2013 in Belgrade, with Brosnan, Bracey, and many other supporting actors seen on site, but nothing particularly came out of the regular photographers and journalists, because it was moved away from public eye, and the sets were closed down for filming, guarded by tight security against all unauthorized personnel. In the original novel, Berlin was the main setting, but Brosnan stated that the production couldn't afford shooting there. Meanwhile, the second unit production team shot additional scenes in Montenegro locations posing as Switzerland.  Olga Kurylenko joined the filming on June 2, 2013, and Brosnan was seen engaging in a firefight performance between goons during an action sequence. In late July 2013, cameras finally rolled off, as shooting on the film was completed. In September 2013, the film entered in post-production status.
On December 3, 2013, it was announced that Marco Beltrami would be composing the soundtrack for the film. "I wanted to create a taut score incorporating a guitar theme with a slightly Eastern European meets Western motif befitting an action thriller about international espionage," said Beltrami. A soundtrack album was released by Varèse Sarabande on September 9, 2014.
Other songs featured in the film include:
- "Die This Way" by Storm Large
- "Keep It Up" by Makao
- "Gnossienne No. 3" by Erik Satie
- "Ticking Bomb" by Aloe Blacc
Even though the film is fiction, in reality, the former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko accused the Russian FSB of being behind the Moscow apartment bombing which was the pretext to the Second Chechen War. Recent revelations have shown that Alexander Litvinenko, the former KGB agent was also an agent of British and Spanish intelligence. Another source revealing Alexander Litvinenko was an MI-6 agent was featured in a recent documentary on the history of MI6 called The Secrets of Her Majesty's Secret Service which was broadcast in the UK on Yesterday and in the US on PBS.
The film was released on August 27, 2014. On June 6, 2014, the first trailer for the film was released worldwide. The seventh novel in the original book series, There Are No Spies, was republished as The November Man to promote the release. The film was released on Blu-ray on November 25, 2014.
The November Man grossed $25 million in North America and $7.5 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $32.6 million, against a budget of $15 million.
In its opening weekend the film grossed $7.9 million, finishing in 6th place at the box office.
The November Man received mostly negative reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 35%, based on 115 reviews, with an average rating of 4.7/10. The site's consensus reads: "The November Man has a few of the ingredients necessary for a better-than-average spy thriller, making it all the more disappointing that it falls back on dull genre clichés." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 38 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
Bilge Ebiri of Vulture wrote, "Brosnan, who was a better James Bond than he often gets credit for, doesn’t like to smile much, but he still brings a weary likability to a grim part, just enough to keep us invested as the movie trots through its gauntlet of familiar twists and double-crosses."
On June 12, 2014, it was revealed that Sriram Das' production company, Das Films, have commissioned a sequel to the film. On August 20, while on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Brosnan officially announced that a sequel is in progress, and Relativity Media will soon be entering pre-production.
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