THE NOVEMBER MAN – Review by Susan Granger

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november man 160 Beginning in 2008 in Montenegro on the shores of Lake Geneva, retired CIA agent Peter Deveraux (Pierce Brosnan) is recruited back into service by John Hanley (Bill Smitrovich), his former handler. When there’s a lethal glitch in the mission, Devereaux reluctantly finds himself pitted against his own trigger-happy protégé, David Mason (Aussie actor Luke Bracey), while attempting to protect a relief agency worker, Alice Fournier (Olga Kurylenko), in Belgrade. She has evidence that could jeopardize the ambitions of a misogynistic, Putin-like politician named Federov (Lazar Ristovski), who seems to be next in line for the Russian presidency. Read on…

As this curiously convoluted espionage plot unfolds, involving the Russian-Chechnyan conflict, their paths cross with a former CIA double-agent with whom Deveraux once had a significant romantic relationship, a bumbling New York Times reporter, and a ruthless Russian assassin.

Generically adapted and updated by Michael Finch & Karl Gajdusek from “There Are No Spies” (1986), the seventh book in Bill Granger’s Peter Devereaux series, it’s formulaically directed by Roger Donaldson (“No Way Out,” “Thirteen Days”), leaving Brosnan, who should know better, uttering ridiculous lines like, “Don’t put your faith in me. I promise I’ll disappoint you.” Unfortunately, it’s not too difficult to spot Brosnan’s stunt double in some of the more dangerous combat sequences.

The rights to film this spy thriller were acquired by Pierce Brosnan and his Irish Dream Time partner, Beau St. Clair, more than 10 years ago, when Brosnan retired from playing 007, a.k.a. British Secret Service Agent James Bond. (He followed Sean Connery and Roger Moore in the iconic role and was succeeded by Daniel Craig.) It’s Brosnan’s world-weary performance that tips the scale on this saga of international intrigue, since Olga Kurylenko was a Bond girl in “Quantum of Solace” (2008).

(As a local tie-in, Bill Smitrovich was born in Bridgeport, CT, educated at Smith College and worked as an acting teacher at the University of Massachusetts. )

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The November Man” is a slick ‘n’ sturdy 6, stumbling only occasionally.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.