The November Man review – Pierce Brosnan’s old-hat cold war thriller

Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan announced his intention to bring Bill Granger’s spy novels to the screen shortly after being dropped from the Bond franchise.

It’s taken nearly a decade for this first instalment (from There Are No Spies) to emerge and there’s little here to suggest that more will follow.

Brosnan is reliably watchable as retired CIA officer Peter Devereaux, lured back into neo-cold war duty to help extract a deep-cover agent with whom he has lasting ties. So it’s off to Moscow and Belgrade, where friend and foe alike prove equally untrustworthy and frenetic car-chases and explosive shoot-outs are the order of the day.

Roger Donaldson directs with efficiency, if not flair, and there are moments where Bosnan’s Devereaux displays flashes of dark intrigue. But compared to Kenneth Branagh’s ultra-modern, Moscow-set Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, it all looks terribly old-fashioned and a little old-hat.

Powered by article was written by Mark Kermode, Observer film critic, for The Observer on Sunday 9th November 2014 00.05 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010