On the day that a serial killer that he helped put away is supposed to be executed, a noted forensic psychologist and college professor receives a call informing him that he has 88 minutes left to live.
In an era when the country's first line of defense, intelligence, is more important than ever, this story opens the CIA's infamous closed doors and gives an insider's view into the Agency: how trainees are recruited, how they are prepared for the spy game, and what they learn to survive. James Clayton might not have the attitude of a typical recruit, but he is one of the smartest graduating seniors in the country - and he's just the person that Walter Burke wants in the Agency. James regards the CIA's mission as an intriguing alternative to an ordinary life, but before he becomes an Ops Officer, James has to survive the Agency's secret training ground, where green recruits are molded into seasoned veterans. As Burke teaches him the ropes and the rules of the game, James quickly rises through the ranks and falls for Layla, one of his fellow recruits. But just when James starts to question his role and his cat-and-mouse relationship with his mentor, Burke taps him for a special ... Written by
When computer hacker and barman James Clayton is approached by CIA recruiter Walter Burke he is enticed by offers of information about his father who died in a plane crash, supposedly in the employment of Shell Oil. On the farm (the CIA training facility) Clayton learns that everything is all part of training. However in a world where every act is a deception and everyone holds secrets not everything is as it seems as friends and lovers conceal deception and treachery.
With two real good names at the head of the cast this was an easy draw for me I wanted to see it before I even knew what it was about and was able to get preview tickets. The main thing to know is that this is a very mainstream thriller. I thought it may have some subversive comments to make about the role of the CIA in this post 9-11 world but it is very straight. As such it is very self contained and never really wanders outside it's parameters and even the computer programme that makes up the second half is never given a global view.
Although this may take away from the impact it can have as a bit of political commentary it does mean that it moves a little more freely and is very entertaining at it's best. The main weakness it has is that it is too twisty. Films that have shock twists usually are shocking because they only have one big twist as opposed to several. The Recruit has so many twists that, after the first 15 minutes, you expect everything you see to be a twist and thus you take away from it's impact. It still has clever bits but I found myself more surprised when things turned out to be what they seemed as opposed the twist I was waiting for.
Pacino is really good in the lead as he gets to play a mysterious sort of teacher type. It is nothing that really stretches his range but he is very watchable. Proving that he does have potential, Farrell is really magnetic when he is onscreen. I have seen him in Phone Booth only a few weeks ago and really like him now. He is sexy but also keeps an air of realism that makes me buy into him (even when his character is a bit Bondish). The support cast are OK but the male duo in the lead basically hold the attention by themselves.
Overall this was a pretty enjoyable thriller that maybe overdoes the twists to the point that you expect them. The leads are good and the film plays well with lots of spy coolness. One thing to watch for is the sign at one point that reads `The George Bush Centre for Intelligence', the audience I was in gave a murmur of laughter when they spotted it!
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