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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
Good spy action thriller with passable performances...
1st watched 6/28/2003 - 6 out of 10(Dir-Roger Donaldson): Good spy action thriller with passable performances by the leads Farrell, Pacino and Moynahan. This isn't quite on-the-edge-of-your-seat material but there is a lot of good information given to you about the CIA to almost make it a how-to type of film at least in the first half. The 2nd half wonders more into the action-thriller genre but always keeps you guessing. Farrell is recruited by a CIA agent to be trained as one and we get to see how they are trained in a place called the `Farm', which is a special school for the CIA. Pacino's character constantly is stressing to Farrell and the audience that not everything is as it seems. This becomes kind of the theme throughout the movie as the viewer tries to figure out what's real and what's not. This is quite a challenge in this film considering that being deceptive is part of the job of the CIA agent. Another statement made by Pacino's character is that `everything is a test' also helps in the confusion of the reality issue. After Farrell goes thru the `Farm', he is assigned a special case to investigate someone that he seems to care(Moynahan) about, as a possible double-agent. The truth is twisted a couple of times near the end of the film but we're able to figure it out when it's all over. The 1st half and the 2nd half of this movie could actually each stand alone and that's what weakens the picture is the attempt to put both the CIA drama and the action-thriller together. All in all this is good viewing but could have been much better but it's apparent that the makers were ok with just ok, and that's ok.
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