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The November Man

Standard spy actioner with lone wolf, pretty girl and badly behaving Russians

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Everything I know about espionage I learned from movies, and it seems to be a hard fact that there is no such thing as a "retired" spy. Former CIA operative Peter Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan, still looking very on-the-job suave) is just chillin' in Switzerland when an old colleague comes to visit: Can Devereaux go to Moscow and exfiltrate another former colleague who's got some compromising info about the hard-ass most likely to be Russia's new president?

Of course, everything goes pear-shaped, and Devereaux winds up in Belgrade, Bulgaria, chasing down a mysterious Chechen woman (Olga Kurylenko) and dodging his old buddies from Langley. (Another truth: Never trust your co-workers.)

The action in Roger Donaldson's film is pretty standard: car chases, nimble escapes and shoot-outs, plus a lot of wizardry with mobile phones and computer databases. And November relies heavily on old-school set-ups: handsome spy guy, pretty girl in peril, spy-vs.spy and bad-acting government institutions. It's another tenet from the Movie Spy Bible: The system is corrupt, and only the rogue agent, the lone wolf with a code, can be trusted. "You just doomed us to another decade of conflict," the villain grouses to our hero. Maybe, but another truism is: sequel.

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