Archive for the ‘Roger Donaldson’ Category

Chechen Revenge

November Man

november_man_ver2

Director: Roger Donaldson

Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Luke Bracey, Olga Kurylenko, Bill Smitrovich, Lazar Ritovski, Eliza Taylor, Will Patton, Patrick Kennedy, Caterina Scorsone

Former Bond actor Pierce Brosnan (Die Another Day, Goldeneye) resuscitates the spy genre with former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) in the convoluted yet sophisticated thriller November Man directed by Australian Roger Donaldson (The Recruit).

As the action moves from a botched assassination in Montenegro by CIA rookie David Mason, played by Australian actor Luke Bracey to Switzerland where retired CIA operative Devereaux is languishing in a café in Lake Lausanne who is soon thrust back into the murky world of Eastern European counter espionage as he has to investigate a rising Russian politician who has been accused of Chechen war crimes.

As the plot unfolds for November Man based upon the novel There are No Spies by Bill Granger Devereaux finds himself in Belgrade, Serbia protecting Alice Fournier played by Kurylenko who was a social worker to a Chechen refugee Mira who witnessed this Russian beaurocrat Arkady Federov played by Lazar Ritovski start a war in Chechnya http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chechnya to extract oil for Russian interests. Except like in most spy novels and never as elegantly told as a John le Carre story, there are numerous twists in this espionage tale.

With November Man, Brosnan still has that muscular gritty edge which got him the part of James Bond back in the mid 1990’s and the dynamic between him and his young CIA protégé Mason played by Bracey (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) makes for interesting and intense viewing, coupled with loads of actions sequences, an unexpectedly high body count and sufficient plot twists which involves a crooked CIA agent and a deadly Russian assassin.

Whilst there are aspects of November Man which are stylistically and logistically questionable, director Donaldson keeps the gritty realist spy genre grounded and evenly paced, similar to the hugely successful Bourne movies. This is Spy Games without the megalomaniacs and lavish liars seen in such films as Moonraker and Tomorrow Never Dies.

This is Brosnan in the autumn of his career in a sort of retired Jack Reacher mode seen in several dubious locations. Let’s face it Belgrade isn’t exactly Venice or Paris, yet Donaldson does make use of the locations in one of Europe’s oldest capital’s especially  tapping into Serbia’s bloody and controversial history as part of the former Yugoslavia which plays well into the Balkan backstory of dodgy Russian politicians committing atrocities in the Caucuses.

Not as slick as the Bourne movies or as glamourous and inventive as the Bond films, but November Man still proves that there is longevity in the spy genre, one in which Hollywood seems to have relinquished.

November Man is recommended viewing for those that like compelling action, lots of violence and an unscrupulous spy game whereby no one appears innocent. Ukrainian beauty Olga Kurylenko is suitably fabulous in her home territory especially in the seduction sequence at a swanky Belgrade hotel.

 

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
January 2020
M T W T F S S
« Dec    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  
  • Chris McCarthy Sets ViacomCBS Leadership Team for Entertainment & Youth Division
    ViacomCBS’ senior leadership ranks are coming into sharper focus as Chris McCarthy, head of the sprawling Entertainment and Youth wing has solidified his senior leadership team. A number of executives closely associated with McCarthy are gaining additional responsibilities, including programming maven Nina Diaz, MTV chief marketing officer Jacqueline Parkes and PR chief Liza Burnett Fefferman. […]
    Cynthia Littleton
  • ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Actor Jonathan Del Arco Launches ‘Hollywood Caucus’ Podcast With First Guest Jeri Ryan
    Jonathan Del Arco is boldly going into the intersection of entertainment and politics. On Tuesday, the “Star Trek: Picard” actor debuted his new podcast “Hollywood Caucus,” with co-host Tara Karsian. Hailing from Dan Harmon’s Starburns Audio, the podcast will feature interviews with figures from both the entertainment industry and the political sphere. For the premiere […]
    Daniel Holloway
  • Harvey Weinstein’s Request to Move Trial Out of NYC Is Denied (Again)
    An appeals court denied the second request from Harvey Weinstein’s legal team to move his trial out of New York City on Tuesday. Weinstein’s attorneys asked the Appellate Division last week to move the trial to Albany or Suffolk County, arguing it is impossible for him to get a fair trial due to the “carnival-like […]
    Elizabeth Wagmeister
  • Free Streaming Service Tubi to Launch in Mexico in Pact With TV Azteca
    Tubi is heading to Mexico: The free, ad-supported streaming service announced plans to launch in the country later this year as well as a pact with TV Azteca, one of the largest producers of Spanish-language television programming. Under the terms of their deal, TV Azteca will sell advertising and promote Tubi across broadcast and digital […]
    Todd Spangler
  • Michael Jackson Estate and BMI Extend 41-Year Publishing Pact
    Michael Jackson’s estate and BMI have renewed their pact for the publishing rights organization to represent the late singer’s songwriting catalog, as it has since 1979. The length of the new deal was not announced, but it was last reupped in 2014. “The influence of Michael Jackson’s revolutionary music is undeniable,” Mike O’Neill, BMI’s president […]
    chrislwillman
  • Read More
    Different providers offer different cell phones, so take a look at the options from each provider to choose the right one for you. You may also want to look into any promotions that the providers have to offer, such as free cell phones in exchange for signing a contract. Tags: 2gmhass90