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Film / The November Man

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The November Man is a 2014 spy thriller film directed by Roger Donaldson and starring Pierce Brosnan. It is based off the seventh book in the series.

In 2008, Peter Devereaux (Brosnan) and David Mason (Luke Bracey) engage in a mission that leaves an innocent boy dead and Devereaux unsure of Mason's character. Five years later, Devereaux is retired until Hanley, an old agency friend of his, drops in to show him a file that contains three dead CIA agents, all supposedly the handiwork of Arkady Federov, the leading candidate for Russia's presidency. However, they have someone on the inside who has gotten close enough to uncover evidence that Federov is a war criminal, with ties to a young Chechen girl last seen with Alice Fournier (Olga Kurylenko), a social worker in Moscow.

This film provides examples of:

  • Accidental Child-Killer Backstory: Peter Deveroux, the titular hitman, quits his profession in disgrace after a botched mission in Montenegro accidentally left a young boy dead, until he's dragged back into the force five years later. Although Peter's partner, Mason, pulled the trigger that killed the child, Peter still felt that he was responsible for the killing due to poor timing.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Befitting of a post-9/11 spy thriller.
    • The CIA is content to destroy a crowded building, causing the deaths of many Russian soldiers, just to blame the Chechens and get their man installed as Russian President so he can back them against Middle Eastern terrorists.
    • Devereaux slices open an innocent woman's femoral artery to prove a point to his protege.
    • Hanley says that his superiors were more in tune with his line of thinking than Weinstein, even if it meant the deaths of innocent Russians and the kickstart of a second Chechen/Russian war.
  • Book Ends: The film opens with Mason sniping a would-be assassin, and closes with someone sniping Arkady Federov.
  • Boom, Headshot!: The very last shot of Arkady Federov is of his head getting aerated by a high-caliber sniper bullet.
  • Creator Provincialism: By the end of the movie, Mira breaks the big story about Hanley and Federov's schemes to the world news- which, apparently, are governed solely by the New York Times, and none of the other major world news networks. And she's not even a US citizen.
  • The Chessmaster: Hanley.
  • Determinator: A mild example, but still impressive. Edgar has his throat slashed by Alexa and is stabbed at least a dozen times, but has enough life to grab her leg and trip her up, letting Alice get away.
  • False Flag Operation: The CIA is revealed to have committed the bombing which caused the Second Chechen War. It was blamed on Chechen terrorists.
  • Hypocrite: One of the first things that we see is Devereaux lecturing Mason for making an intimate connection with a beautiful woman, saying in their line of work, significant others are usually nothing more than hindrances at best, potential hostages at worst. However this argument gets set on fire and chucked out a window when it's revealed Devereaux and Natalia were long-time lovers and have a daughter together. Of course, it's possible he said this to Mason because he knows the risk (and later people kidnap his daughter).
  • Made of Iron: Mason is thrown into pipes, strangled, dropped onto concrete, and nearly blown up, but just keeps moving. Hell, he crashes his car into a concrete wall just to kill his passenger and all it makes him do is stagger a bit before he's up and gunning his way through the Russians' stronghold.
  • Nebulous Criminal Conspiracy: The Russian mob tries to further its influence on the Russian government. Later it's revealed that the CIA is doing this to get Federov elected so Russia can join NATO and back the USA against the Middle East.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: After Mason and another agent find out Hanley is really the one behind everything, they rush into Weinstein's office with the evidence, only to find Hanley sitting in his place, which lets him find out about Devereaux's daughter and gives him the leverage he needs to make Devereaux do what he wants.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Peter is very adamant about not putting innocent lives in danger or being reckless with their missions, even going so far as to drop Mason from his team when he accidentally killed a little boy in the process of saving Devereaux's life, as well as telling Mason that he shouldn't make any long-term intimate relationships. Yet he cold-bloodedly slices open Sarah's femoral artery just to prove a point to Mason about their line of work.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Federov executes Mila's family in front of her, but instead of killing her, he takes her with him and basically makes her into his sex slave despite her only being fifteen at most. It's implied that he's done this all throughout the Chechen War to other young girls. Also, when Alice/Mila confronts him at the hotel with the intent to kill, Federov simply responds that taking her virginity and turning her into a woman was one of the best memories he's ever had.
  • Red Herring: Weinstein seems like he might be evil, and it's implied that he was the one who set up the Chechens to take the fall for the destroyed Russian building, while Hanley acts and feels like a pawn in the game the CIA is playing with Devereaux. About three-fourths of the way through, it's revealed that Hanley is the one behind it all.
  • The Reveal: Several, as befitting the spy genre:
    • Natalia didn't just know Peter, she was his lover, and they had a daughter together.
    • The building that the Russians accused the Chechens of destroying was actually done by the CIA to further thier political agenda with Federov as their ally.
    • Alice Fournier is really Mila Filapova.
    • Weinstein didn't authorize the destruction of the Russian building, Hanley did.
  • Spy Fiction: Of the Stale Beer flavor, dealing with a gritty conspiracy plot.
  • Title Drop: Seemingly done just to justify the name of the movie.
    Hanley: "You know what we called you? The November Man. Because once you passed through, nothing lived."
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Federov is a former war criminal who's murdered, raped, and executed his way through the second Chechen War. He's also basically a shoo-in to be the next Russian President and presumably has the CIA backing him up.
  • Wham Line: When Hanley tells Devereaux that Mila's parents were two university professors, he remembers that Alice told him the same thing about her parents.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • It's never revealed just what happens to Sarah after Peter slices open her femoral artery and she's loaded onto the ambulance. Judging by Mason's expression, it's not good.
    • You also never see what happens to Alexa after Alice whacks her in the face with a shovel and leaves her unconscious.