The November Man is an adaptation of the novel written by Bill Granger. There is a series of books which details the adventures of CIA operative Peter Devereaux. I haven't read the series. The series occurs during the tail end of the Cold War ear considering the year of publication. Pierce Brosnan and Roger Donaldson unite after Dante's Peak. The genre is a thriller, an area where Pierce Brosnan is comfortable.
The movie opens with a quick introduction of Peter Devereaux(Pierce Brosnan) and his new protege David Mason(Luke Bracey) before the former retires from the spy world. Before long, he is called back from retirement to bring back an asset from Moscow. This time around, there are surprises. Devereaux is on the run with former protege hunting him. The key to the mystery lies with a refugee case worker named Alice Fournier(Olga Kurylenko).
When the movie is adapted to the screen, there are changes to the timelines. The cold war was over long back. The Russian oligarchs or cheap replica of Russian bureaucrats are the favorite Hollywood villains for movies set in Eastern Europe. Give the movie the darker tone and there is a shadow of misery everywhere. There is no way this movie can work past the cliches. Despite this, Roger Donaldson succeeds in capturing our attention by setting a pace for the movie. He doesn't give us time to think due to the speed at which events happen on the screen.
Moreover, he has Pierce Brosnan as the protagonist. As the settings have a James Bond hangover, Brosnan is in familiar territory. On top of it, we are all waiting eagerly to watch Brosnan reprising a role that has shades of the man who has the license to kill.
This movie is perfect for a forgettable evening. You watch this on an unremarkable evening where there is nothing else to do.