Ben Kingsley stars as an American journalist whose plane crashes in Northern France, and in The November Man, he plays The November Man, the president of a small country where nuclear submarines are a very real threat. The film tells the story of a journalist who discovers an impending war in Europe and will do anything to avoid it. The first few scenes set the tone for what is to come; we are immediately in the scene where we first meet the Nov.
He introduces himself to us, to his girlfriend who he would eventually fall in love with and later marry, and to his family, a family which he knows will be killed in the line of duty. Kingsley seems to delight in portraying people from a society where the youth are groomed for war rather than for any other reason. I had the privilege of being one of the first to see this movie, and I was glad I did, as I have found it to be one of the best reviewed movies of the year.
This first scene set the tone for a war that would be waged between Australia and New Zealand and that would last until the mid 70's. In the film, the United States has been supporting the Australian Government and NZ Government, because their involvement is deemed necessary to stop the Russians from bringing nuclear weapons into the European region. Many Australians and New Zealanders resent this fact and feel the United States has no right to interfere in their own affairs. As the film shows, there are many reasons why this conflict happens, but the main motive seems to be the fear of the atomic bomb.
In The November Man, the movie shows that in the mid 50's, Australia and New Zealand were in constant conflict with each other. During the early part of the movie, the November Man teaches us what to look for in the faces of our soldiers. They will give no quarter to anybody and will not even give the other side the opportunity to take a breath or speak.
There are many special effects in this movie, and it does give the feeling of a war on the streets of an American city, but the tone is far more pleasant than anything that could be expected from a war film. One thing that really makes this movie stand out, however, is the acting. Much of the film seems to revolve around Kingsley's character, as he tries to navigate the machinations of both the American government and his own colleagues.
However, he will also constantly deal with the expectations of the American public, as many times he is forced to perform tasks for them that may be against his own principles. The role of the November Man is played brilliantly by Kingsley, as he takes on a character that is far more complex than his initial assumption. While I do not think The November Man is a good movie, I do believe it is a great movie, and you should watch it for the special effects.
I must also admit that I was initially turned off by the setup of this series of films, as they seem to be built around the audience's expectation of a specific series of events in an already successful movie. The rest of the series, however, is generally enjoyable, as they keep the audience guessing about what might be coming next. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed The November Man, and the whole series of films in the November series.
The Nov. Trilogy should be checked out, but you do not want to miss out on the television series. Each part focuses on a different period in history and reveals the history behind each of the characters that played a part in it. If you are a fan of The November Man and you like detective stories and their setting in a modern world, you will definitely enjoy the films.