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The Recruit (2003)

PG-13  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  31 January 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 107,687 users   Metascore: 56/100
Reviews: 283 user | 156 critic | 36 from Metacritic.com

A brilliant young CIA trainee is asked by his mentor to help find a mole in the Agency.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Alan (as Ken Mitchell)
Karl Pruner ...
Blonde with Cell Phone (as Jennifer Levine)
Veronica Hurnick ...
Polygraph Interrogator (as Veronika Hurnik)
Mark Ellis ...
Richard Fitzpatrick ...


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 wild62

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

cia | recruit | mole | training | mentor | See All (254) »


Trust. Betrayal. Deception. In the C.I.A. nothing is what it seems.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence, sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



| |

Release Date:

31 January 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Farm  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$16,302,063 (USA) (31 January 2003)


$676,129 (Japan) (23 January 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The "abandoned warehouse" where the final sequence in the film takes place is the same set where Chicago (2002)'s prison scenes were filmed. See more »


When James is entering Layla's secure work area, it sounds as if he enters 5 keys (each strike emits a beep), but only 4 coded (asterisks) marks appear. Many keypads require that either the pound or enter key be pressed after the code is entered. This also makes a beep, but does not cause an asterisk on the screen. See more »


Husky Guy: Did you know that no country with a McDonald's has ever attacked the US?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Girl in the window - Lorrie Barth See more »


Referenced in Scrubs: My New Old Friend (2003) See more »


Written by Shaun Verreault, Earl Pereira, Safwan Javed and Craig Northey
Performed by Wide Mouth Mason
Courtesy of Warner Music Canada Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

Everything is a Test!!! That's a Good and Bad Thing.
14 May 2007 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

'The Recruit,' is an MIT whiz kid James Clayton (Colin Farrel). His recruiter is CIA guy Walter Burke (Al Pacino). He is the head guy at the CIA training centre, 'the farm,' which Clayton and fellow trainee/love interest Layla Moore (Bridget Moynahan) go through.

The movie is good enough to watch but is not entirely riveting. You see, we are told 'everything is a test!!!' and this lurks behind every plot turn that Clayton goes through. Are his problems for real? Or is it just another training test by Burke? If this sounds like tense stuff, it is and it isn't. Sometimes it will hook you in but other times it is just annoying - the feeling that he's not in any real danger but its all just a drill. Interest goes up and down until after the 'farm' training stuff. At this point, the story's focus gets much sharper and things become more consistently interesting, with a few cool twists. This is quite a fair way into the movie, though.

I love Pacino, and was quite interested in whether Farrell could match him after the promise he showed in 'Minority Report.' Well he does. In fact, everyone holds their own and the combined chemistry boosts the film. Pacino is steady throughout and doesn't do his unrestrained thing until the end (its still worth the wait!). Also, Moynahan is thankfully given more to do than just be the obligatory chick/eye-candy.

Overall, decent enough to give a whirl. It's better than most of the other spy / thriller stuff out there.

31 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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