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In "The Recruit" a computer whiz (Farrell) is recruited to be trained as a CIA operative and ends up playing cat and mole inside the agency while keeping the audience wondering who's "cat" and who's "mole". The film is a slick shoot with a convoluted plot which tries to work the notion that in the spy game no one can trust anyone. Unfortunately the film is dumbed down, full of plot holes and obvious contrivances, doesn't work well in the human drama, and relies too much on techno-junk and gobbledygook computer hacking spy stuff. Though "The Recruit" isn't much of a movie given the talent behind it, it is busy and keeps you guessing all the way to the conclusion. An okay watch for Pacino fans and anyone in the mood for a lukewarm spy flick. (B-)
'The Recruit' is good enough for a nice evening but that doesn't mean the
movie is very good. It is about James Clayton (Colin Farrell) who is
recruited by CIA spy Walter Burke (Al Pacino). On a place called The Farm he
and others including the beautiful Layla (Bridget Moynahan) are trained to
become CIA agents. They learn to kill and all the stuff you see James Bond
and such do in other movies.
It is all very entertaining but not very believable. Entertaining because of Al Pacino who almost always is fun to watch and because of Colin Farrell. I liked him in 'Tigerland' and since then he has only done good. The real star in 'Minority Report', the best thing in 'Daredevil' and a great performance in 'Phone Booth', and now a good reason to watch 'The Recruit'.
'The Recruit' is entertaining, but one plot twist after another, most of them predictable; it is just a little too much.
'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.
For some reason or another, this movie wasn't really accepted by the
majority of the audience and I wonder why that is. I'm not saying it is
a masterpiece, but this is still a movie with Al Pacino and Colin
Farrell. Both actors and especially Al Pacino are normally good for
some decent fun and some good acting and it wasn't any different in
This movie tells us the story of James Clayton (Colin Farrell), a young computer graduate who is recruited by Walter Burke (Al Pacino) to work for the CIA. Despite Clayton's unconventional attitude, Burke sees in him one of the best agents the CIA can wish for. That's why he'll guide Clayton through the difficult training courses and helps him to quickly rise through the ranks. Once the training period is over Clayton gets a special assignment, he'll have to detect a mole that has infiltrated in the CIA. But will his training be enough and was Burke right about the fact that this may well be the best agent ever?
This movie is perhaps not the most original thriller ever, but it delivers everything that it is asked for. It's a good movie, full of suspense and decent acting. And for those who are interested: it also gives an insight on how the trainees are recruited, how they are prepared to be a spy and what they learn to survive. I don't know anything about it, but I guess it all looked pretty accurate. Anyway, I enjoyed watching this movie and I give it a 7.5/10.
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.
The Recruit has too many sub-plots and twists and turns. Pacino takes on the role as a CIA recruiter with a vengeance. Colin Farrell is spectacular as the recruit. His CIA girl friend (Moynahan) is extremely sexy, but Farrell manages to steal the scenes from her, one by one. It's directed with plenty of drama, mystery and intrigue. But there's something wrong with the movie? Could it be the studio? Or the writing? Don't know, I wasn't there. What I do know is that it's a great idea, but someone along the way messed it up big-time. If I was Pacino, I would have final say on the script and final cut. He must have been fuming. To make him do a Scarface sort of thing was absolutely pathetic. When the movie was over I felt cheated. Out of my DVD money and out of a good ending.
Ironic this movie's made by Spyglass? Or is it? Isn't there ambiguity
there as well?
Nothing is what it seems.
Yes the writers could have gone over their screenplay and given it another one-two and that may have raised the caliber another notch, but this is still good entertainment. It won't change your life, but it will be a well spent couple of hours.
And it's true the movie could in theory have had a more sophisticated (ambiguous) ending, but there comes a time, after wading through all the trollop on the market, that one just sinks back and decides to enjoy a better movie for all it's worth.
And this is such a movie: directed by the capable Roger Donaldson who directed the taut thriller No Way Out and co-authored by a writer on The Natural, this one keeps going at a brisk pace with excellent editing and super soundtrack from Klaus Badelt of POTC1 fame. Farrell - who actually comes off smaller than life what with all the tripe written about him, and that's not a bad thing - and former fashion model Moynahan make the sparks fly. You feel for the protagonists and that's an essential ingredient of any good movie.
But Pacino: he's great at whatever he does but is he fated to have secondary roles now? Bah.
There's a bit of a 'Spy Game' feel to things but there's no shameless copying going on. There just aren't many movies in this genre. And Spy Game doesn't have the thrill and suspense this one has. Yes, you might eventually figure everything out before the denouement, but you won't be upset. And odds are you won't figure everything out anyway - some yes; all of it - no.
As for that ending: some people would perhaps prefer more ambiguity. On several planes. Others would say the ending is ambiguous enough. At least on one plane, perhaps several.
Nothing is what it seems.
James Clayton (Colin Farrell) is a brilliant hacker and was the first in his
class in MIT. Walter Burke (Al Pacino) is a CIA recruiter and trainer and
invites James to join CIA in Langton farm, using as motivation the
disappearance of his father in 1990 in Peru. While being trained, James has
a crush on his colleague Layla Moore (Bridget Moynahan) and he becomes
closer to her. In a torture training session, James is invited to leave
Langton farm. Later, Walter looks for James telling him that he was indeed
very well succeeded and he was hired to follow Layla, who is under the
suspicion of being a traitor. In the end, nothing is what it seems. A movie
having Al Pacino in the cast is a synonym of a good or excellent movie. This
one follows the rules. Specially having also the great actor Colin Farrell
and the beautiful Bridget Moynahan. Although having many clichés, this film
is a great thriller, full of plot points, and in the end, a good
entertainment. Fans of this genre will not be disappointed. My vote is
Title (Brazil): `O Novato' (`The Rooker')
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's the kind of movie that's likely to have started off with someone
asking, "Have they made any action movies or, er, spy thrillers that
take you through the CIA boot camp at Langley? You know, like "13 Rue
Madeleine"? The one where Richard Conte is a Gestapo agent who enrolls
and has to get found out? Everybody seems to be talking about the CIA
lately. Has anybody made this kind of movie?" Well, they have now. We
follow the young computer whiz, Colin Farrel, as he is recruited and
sent to "The Farm" in Langley where, along with other recruits, he
undergoes basic training. Most of what we see him learning is, I
presume, made up. If not, how did this information get out of The Farm?
And, if it's not made up, do we REALLY have a device that can be
plugged into any wall socket and melt every electrical circuit in the
world? What are we waiting for? We Luddites will be dancing in the
streets. Except, come to think of it -- no more Playboy Channel. The
hell with it.
As in "13 Rue Madeleine" the protagonist becomes, let's say, good friends with a fellow recruit, Layla (Bridget Moynihan). Also as in the earlier film, the Chief of the Program, Al Pacino, identifies her as an enemy plant and pits Colin Farrel against her. Farrel versus Moynihan. Sounds like Madison Square Garden in 1946.
The ending gets both complicated and rather slickly routine. Everyone seems, wittingly or otherwise, to have double crossed everyone else. There is, in fact, an evil genius at work (though we don't know his motives, any more than the potential enemies are identified). He or she gets his or her comeuppance, right through his or her chests or breasts as the case may be.
Colin Farrel is okay. He has even features and his acting stays on track. Is he unusually appealing to women or something? His name seems to be all over the place. Al Pacino is hairy, wrinkled, gruff, shambling, flamboyant, puzzling, and cheerfully cynical in the Jimmy Cagney role.
It's fun to watch, though the photography is dark and we don't enjoy seeing people we've come to like get knocked off.
A benign interpretation of this film is that it is harmless fun with some
weak points. The plot is ridiculous, and generates pleasure insofar as
can pick holes in its premise, "twists" and developments. There were so
many implausibilities in this film to relate, but I'll stick to one: we
asked to believe it plausible that *elite spies* would believe that
who graduated "top of his class at MIT", and who clearly has what it takes
to earn "200K a year and live a nice life", and who has failed to become a
spy would take a *data entry job* at CIA headquarters.
Further, the technical aspects of the film are incredibly implausible: why make a techno-thriller when you can't even bluster a realistic maguffin? We are asked in all seriousness to believe that there is a "computer virus that can go down electrical cables", and that CIA's HQ has "no hard drives".
A more sinister interpretation comes when a bonus on the DVD claims that this film was made with the connivance of the CIA itself. That the film reveals nothing of substance about the CIA's training beyond what you could guess yourself, and shows the CIA to be techno-rich and brain-poor is either realistic and worrying, or, more likely, means that this is probably what they want you to think and that this film doesn't even work on an "insight" level.
In short - stick to Bond; compared to this it appears on *some* levels to be plausible.
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