Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Film Pairings —Pierce Brosnan: One Comedy, One Not So Funny

Salma Hayek With Brosnan
I’m a Pierce Brosnan fan. Not obsessive, but I have the sense that if he is in a film, while it may not be a classic, it will be entertaining.  Ghost Writer, and Matador were examples of Brosnan at his best. For me – and I know how debated this is – he made a fine Bond, splitting the difference between Sean Connery’s earthy and Roger Moore’s tongue-in-cheek portrayals.  The two Brosnan movies tonight do not tap any deeper level of acting skill than a Bond film requires, and the movies will not give you any greater understanding of the universe, but if you are looking for an escape from the daily grind you could do far worse:

After The Sunset — Lots of fun.  We have a charming diamond thief, a beautiful and smart woman, a rogue FBI Agent, an exotic local island, a quirky local gangster and an extremely desirable diamond.  In addition to Brosnan, we have Salma Hayek, Woody Harrelson and Don Cheadle, all of whom perform admirably in roles that fit well, but are not especially demanding. Released in 2004, this heist comedy was directed by Brett Ratner.

Brosnan As The November Man
November Man — The film opens in a sunny seaside town. In moments, the fun is over. This is a gritty violent, spy film. Reviews when it was first released in 2014 were not entirely favorable. That may be explainable.  It is not as splashy as a Bond film and not as subtle and wily as movies based on John le Carré novels. November Man, based on a series of spy novels by Bill Granger, falls somewhere in between and works just fine on a smaller screen. The story raises questions about the use of killing as part of the exercise of some larger justice. Pierce Brosnan is the central figure, an ex-spy lured back into the game to protect a loved one.  It wouldn’t be a spy plot if there weren’t enough twists and betrayals to fill a couple of hours and keep us guessing. Turns out we can’t trust the Russians or the Americans. Who knew?  Directed by Roger Donaldson, the cast includes fine performances by Luke Bracey as an ambitious young CIA agent who sees Brosnan’s character variously as a hero and a devastating disappointment, and Olga Kurylenko as the hunted, the only one who is able to put all the pieces together.

If you want an accompaniment to the evening’s entertainment, something light and tropical (don’t forget the umbrellas) is suitable for After The Sunset. However you may wish to switch to something darker and more sinister for the November Man as the setting eventually moves from a lush tropical isle to a bleak Eastern Europe.  If your spirits need to be unspirited, switch from coconut water to a good, strong Coca Cola.

1 comment:

Teri-on-the-sandbar said...

I'm not a Brosnan fan, but I thoroughly enjoyed After the Sunset! Magnificent scenery and a brisk plot. I'd call it a charming mojito-of-a-movie! Good call.