A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The November Man is an action thriller based on one in a series of novels by Bill Granger. Strong violence includes shooting, stabbing, chases, explosions, and scenes of spurting blood; main characters are killers who do their job without consequence. Women are treated fairly roughly from time to time. Main male characters are shown having sex, kissing, or in bed with women, though nothing graphic is shown. Nudity is shown in a background way, in both a photograph and at a topless bar. Language includes multiples uses of "f--k," "s--t," and "t-ts." One of the main characters is shown drinking heavily and angrily drunk in one scene. A woman in a club is shown snorting cocaine.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Years after a failed mission in which CIA agent Peter Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) and rookie agent David Mason (Luke Bracey) parted ways, Devereaux's old boss, Hanley (Bill Smitrovich), calls him out of retirement. Devereaux is to help bring in a fellow agent, Natalia (Mediha Musliovic), who's posing as an aide to a powerful Russian politician, Fedorov (Lazar Ristovski). Devereaux picks her up just as she escapes, but his former student unexpectedly appears on the scene, and the mission ends in betrayal. Fortunately, Devereaux has obtained the name of someone who may know something about Fedorov, but the only key to her whereabouts lies with a social worker, Alice Fournier (Olga Kurylenko). From there, the stakes just grow higher.
Is it any good?
Based on a novel by Bill Granger, THE NOVEMBER MAN touches on some interesting themes -- such as the manipulation of global politics and the toll that killing takes on a man's soul. But it also has some fairly dumb coincidences. That, plus a batch of routine shoot outs and chases, eventually squashes the good stuff like road kill. The story takes place in a world of high-tech spying, where spies can find just about anywhere at any time, which should raise the stakes. But instead of responding in kind, characters rely on dumb luck and good timing to get out of scrapes.
The characters should also have been more interesting than they are. The teacher-student relationship between Brosnan and Bracey never comes to life or generates any chemistry or history, perhaps because Bracey doesn't have anywhere near the onscreen charisma that Brosnan has. Director Roger Donaldson has made decent thrillers before, but stuck with dud material like this, The November Man is one to forget.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The November Man's violence. How does all the blood and killing impact you as a viewer? Does it serve to make a point, or does it feel gratuitous? Could the story be told with less violence?
When the bad guys' plan is finally revealed, does it appear to have good intentions? What does "the ends justify the means" mean? How does it apply here?
When does the main character drink, and how does it affect him?
Have you ever had a mentor-student relationship with anyone? How did it change over time? How does it compare to the one in the movie?
- In theaters: August 27, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: November 25, 2014
- Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Olga Kurylenko, Luke Bracey
- Director: Roger Donaldson
- Studio: Relativity Media
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 108 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong violence including a sexual assault, language, sexuality/nudity and brief drug use