Know what we used to call you Peter? The November Man. Cause after you passed through, nothing lived. You were one bleak motherfucker my friend.
This is a little late for this review, and I’m sorry about that…primarily because you need to see this movie. This gritty spy thriller was produced by it’s star Pierce Brosnan…and I think that says a lot about this film. This film is Brosnan making a simple statement, “Daniel, your films are better than mine, but that is because your writers are better than mine were…but when it comes to playing a dark, gritty, bad ass spy in a serious film, I’m better than you.” That’s right, Brosnan makes it clear that his flaws as Bond were not his fault.
This films follow a retired American clandestine agent who is called out of to bring out an old asset from Russia. However he soon finds that the mission is not so simple as he was told and that the CIA is now out to kill him, with his protégé leading the hunt against him.
In many ways Brosnan is not playing a new character, he’s playing Bond. Super-agent extraordinaire, who has to drink his way through his regret of all that he has done. But like the Daniel Craig movies, this is a mature story sans all the gimmicks, cartoonish banter and fun action. The violence is brutal, the actions of the Russian villains are vile, and the emotional content of the theme is real rather than superficial. It’s an adult Bond story that puts the writers of the reboot to shame.
And unlike a lot of movies nowadays there is character development for lots of characters in the movie. The protégé, the woman Brosnan is out to save, even the main villain, all get a fair amount of development. You care about them not because they’re a cookie cutter type you’ve grown to love, but because they’re actual developed character
So I give the move 4 out of 5
Now for some spoilers heavy discussion. Honestly you should see the film and not come back until you’ve seen it. Okay you’ve been warned.
One of the movies central villain is Putin. He has a different name, but he is a fascist Russian politician bent on taking over Russia and to do so he blew up a building of Russian soldiers and blamed it on Chechyen rebels. You know, exactly what Putin did to get into power. I also have no problem when they also made this character a pedophilic rapist…I have no proof of Vladimir being such, but he’s such a worthless piece of scum, he deserves even this insult hurled on him.
But he’s not the only villain. There is also a rogue CIA agent who makes a deal with his Russian stand-in for the current fascist head of Russia. This psycho’s idea is that if he involves himself in the Russian’s nefarious deeds he can use that against the man when he takes over Russia and then have the CIA control Russia and make it a non-threat. Now, this is actually a terrible plan as there was a billion and one ways it could back fire…on the other hand, as the story suggests the agent went rogue and only let Langley know when said Russian general was about to take power…I can see why the higher ups would endorse the plan after it had already succeeded. But it’s an incredibly stupid plan to have put into operation as it has almost no chance of success. But what is nice about this movie is that it goes out of its way to show that it is this rogue agent who is to blame and not the entire intelligence community that must be destroyed (as you would see in lesser films like that shallow imitators of the Bourne books or Captain America 2: Steven gives every terrorist on the planet plans to high end weapons). It’s a habit of story telling I wish Hollywood would have more of.
Go see it. Encourage Hollywood to do more stuff like this, movies that actually care about writing a plot.