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Pierce Brosnan in The November Man

Here’s a vintage 1980s thriller nobody remembers because it won’t open till next month. Based on an ’80s espionage novel. Directed by Roger Donaldson who made two terrific ’80s thrillers, Smash Palace and No Way Out. Starring Pierce Brosnan who made ’90s Bond movies that were still spinning their wheels in the ’80s. “The November Man” even sounds like a classic ’80s thriller title. Donaldson made The Bank Job in 2008 and it, too, felt like a better-than-average ’80s thriller. There are worse things than better-than-average ’80s thrillers.

10 Comments on this Post

  1. The Bank Job is probably the best movie, or movie with the best script, Jason Statham has been a part of. I may check this out.

  2. The Pope

    Well, Will Patton is in it and he was great in No Way Out.
    I liked the opening premise because Olga Kurylenko appeared to be central to the story. But then unfortunately she gets sidelined and in comes this Luke Bracey guy and well…
    I’d like Ms. Kurylenko to have more screentime… and then after having established her as the imperilled witness, turn it around so she attacks Pierce Brosnan because she’s the witness whom the CIA exposed to draw out Bond, sorry Brosnan and then …
    Jason Stratham turns up with a bomb wired into his heart… it’s the only way he can keep the ticker going and well…
    there’s a twist at the end where Brosnan turns out to be a Russian Agent named Yuri.

  3. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Hollywood used to make this kind of movie 4 or 5 times a year throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s. They weren’t all great but they were all good. I could sit down and rewatch most of them anytime they’re on TV.

    We had the top tier, like The Conversation, One False Move, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.

    Then the next rung down, like Three Days of the Condor, The Anderson Tapes, The Odessa File, The Parallax View, The Day of the Jackal. I love ‘em all. The more paranoid betrayal, the better. (See what I mean about The November Man having a 1980s title?)

    These 80’s throwbacks rarely get any Oscar attention (er, unless you’re Ben Affleck) — but neither did most of the noir classics we treasure today. Once in a while a genre film like The French Connection, The Fugitive or Witness or Out of Sight will capture the Academy’s fancy, but ordinarily they want something a lot more “prestigiouzzzz’ to nominate.

    Blue Ruin is the best little thriller of 2014. It won’t be blip on the Oscar either, but it’s the kind of movie I wish we’d see more of. Maybe The November Man will falter, but I like it when seasoned veteran directors keep serving up these sure-handed durable thrillers. Think Mike Hodges and Croupier.

    What are some of your favorite paranoid suspense thrillers from the 60s-70s-80s?

  4. Bryce Forestieri

    Donaldson who also authoritatively helmed an Oscar bait movie* which is savvier, better built, and more sensible than most of its kind, THIRTEEN DAYS.

    *Zero Oscar noms, my guess is people couldn’t get over Costner’s weird strain of roughed-up Harvard-educated Boston accent, but otherwise he was pretty great. Point is they usually get over worse, like yearly.

    And you know, SPECIES which is such a reliable re-watch. Much smarter than given credit for. Didn’t we talk about it a couple months ago?

    All the same, loving the love for Donaldson.

  5. steve50

    “What are some of your favorite paranoid suspense thrillers from the 60s-70s-80s?”

    You’ve named all the best ones, Ryan.

    This genre started replacing the Western in mass entertainment in the 60’s and progressed into the 70’s and started to fade in the 80’s. They make me yearn for a night out at the drive-in for a triple feature.

    Here are some more:

    $
    The Long Goodbye
    Borsalino
    Marathon Man
    The Tenant
    Black Sunday
    The Other
    Purple Noon
    Manchurian Candidate
    Seconds
    Point Blank
    Bullitt
    Night Moves
    Prime Cut

  6. Watermelons

    Elegant and succinct closing line, Ryan.

    Great list Steve50 – Point Blank echoes in memory every time I wear tile-clicking shoes. I find Alfredson’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy a top notch take on the contemporary “throwback” paranoia/espionage film.

    -Watermelons

  7. The JPNS Viewer

    Just to name a bit more than a few and focus on Hollywood-based films only:

    All the President’s Men
    The China Syndrome
    Blue Velvet
    Psycho [Yes, Psycho . . . . (It was first released in 1960; could it be considered a 1960s film or 1950s’?)]
    Witness

  8. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Point Blank echoes in memory every time I wear tile-clicking shoes.

    The Golden Age of the 1970s began with Point Blank in 1967 and by 1977 the decade was already fizzling out, collapsing 3 year early into the 1980s corporate formula.

    Point Blank had the bad luck to open exactly 17 days before Bonnie and Clyde opened. 17 days.

  9. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Point Blank echoes in memory every time I wear tile-clicking shoes.

    The Golden Age of the 1970s began with Point Blank in 1967 and by 1977 the decade was already fizzling out, collapsing 3 year early into the 1980s corporate formula.

    Point Blank had the bad luck to open exactly 17 days after Bonnie and Clyde opened. 17 days.

  10. The JPNS Viewer

    “(It was first released in 1960; could it be considered a 1960s film or 1950s’?)”

    I was thinking out loud because, if I’m not mistaken, for instance, in case of Y2K, according to the prescriptionists, there was some sort of misunderstanding re whether or not, the new century should begin in 2001 (which was preferred by the prescriptionists) or 2000 (irrelevant to the prescriptionists in light of Y2K and all of the otherwise Internet- and computerized system-related concerns back then).

    Sometimes, because of the rift between the two schools of thought (both being of native speakers of the English language), I am personally torn myself when it comes to referring to the era of pop music a la ’80s and ’90s. My problem lies in the end/the beginning of each decade in the last century; for instance, whether or not 1989 or 1990 should be considered the last year of 1980s (according to the popular belief/actual practice system vs the official paradigm [it sure is vs it surely is], given that to some, in this case, 1980 is the first year of the ’80s, while to others, 1981 has proven to be the case.
    (Oddly enough, I personally agree with the prescriptionist’s idea that this new century/millennium should begin with 2001, not 2000.) (I guess, it case of Psycho, whether or not it fits the description [keyword: paranoid] , I just wanted to include it on the list [thus cheating, to some, in terms of timeline (1960 vs 1961)]. . . . )

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