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The Recruit
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Recruit More at IMDbPro »

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75 out of 101 people found the following review useful:

Cat and Mole

6/10
Author: George Parker from Orange County, CA USA
28 May 2003

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-)

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69 out of 101 people found the following review useful:

Good enough

6/10
Author: rbverhoef (rbverhoef@hotmail.com) from The Hague, Netherlands
10 November 2003

'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.

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32 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

Everything is a Test!!! That's a Good and Bad Thing.

7/10
Author: he_who_leads from Sydney, Australia
14 May 2007

'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.

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43 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

Not the most original thriller, but it does exactly what you can expect from it.

8/10
Author: Philip Van der Veken from Tessenderlo, Belgium
20 April 2005

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.

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.

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31 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Good spy action thriller with passable performances...

6/10
Author: dwpollar from Evansville, Indiana USA
29 June 2003

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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34 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

I was recruited until the end

7/10
Author: fivejewels2dogs from United States
28 March 2005

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.

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17 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Ambiguous?

8/10
Author: Rick Blaine from London
21 October 2006

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.

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17 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

When Nothing Is What It Seems

8/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
10 April 2004

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 eight.

Title (Brazil): `O Novato' (`The Rooker')

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18 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Deja view

5/10
Author: Elliott Noble from London, England
3 October 2003

Another in a long line of thrillers that aren't as smart as they think they are, populated with supposedly ultra-smart characters doing really stupid things.

"Everything is a test." "Nothing is what it seems." Doesn't anyone ever listen? And what sort of feeble recruit cracks under interrogation after a few personal questions about sex? If these are the types of people the CIA enlists, we're all doomed.

I'd hoped for more from the Pacino/Farrell interplay which is cute but uninspired, given their talents. The disappointment continues as Farrell and Moynahan generate about as much spark as a match under a cold shower.

Add that to a boring plotline about a dead father and a pointless car chase and it all adds up to a little more than a DTV potboiler with bigger names.

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21 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

Con Script

1/10
Author: Critical Eye UK from Lake District, England
11 April 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Warning: SPOILERS

Pity the poor CIA. As if it wasn't bad enough being slagged off in books and newspapers, even worse is the fate that awaits where movie-makers are concerned. You'd have thought ‘Spy Games' was about as bad as it could get, but lo, here cometh another that's even worse: ‘The Recruit', an over-long over-wrought essay on the theme that nothing is as it seems and no-one is who they say they are and spooks have a frankly awful job to do but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.

There's originality then.

As to the plot, well; demented CIA veteran (Al Pacino) approaches half-wit computer nerd (Colin Farrell) on the very day the nerd achieves a software breakthrough that will earn him billions of dollars. The nerd, who hasn't hitherto had the slightest interest in spies or spying, nevertheless abandons his lifetime's ambition and instantly agrees to go to CIA recruitment school, during the course of which it is endlessly pointed out, in tones commensurate with the revelation of hitherto undiscovered universal truths, that nothing is as it seems and no-one is who they say they are and spooks have a frankly awful job to do but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. (Haven't we heard that before somewhere?)

The nerd's training course is exceptionally tedious but relieved by sustained physical violence inflicted with such force that the nerd, if he'd indeed had half a brain, could actually have sued Uncle Sam for almost as much in damages as he would have earned from his software creation. But. . . He doesn't.

Instead, he survives multiple injuries to face, jaw, kidneys and skull by dint of drinking some whisky and then goes off on an assignment from the mad Pacino who wishes him to know, yet again, that nothing is as it seems and no-one is who they say they are and spooks have a frankly awful job to do but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. (I'm sure we've heard that before somewhere).

As to the reason why the nerd is chosen for Pacino's mission, well. . . It's because he is the brightest trainee the CIA has had in thirty years, even though it eventually transpires that he is utterly incapable of telling the difference between a gun loaded with blanks and one stuffed with live ammo.

But he can't. And so there are a couple of chases and a bit of sex and the nerd fires blanks or maybe he doesn't because nothing is as it seems and no-one is who – no, no; let's not go there again.

And at the end of it all, in a climax even more exciting than watching mushrooms grow, Pacino wishes us to understand that nothing is as it seems and – for God's sake, no more!

And the nerd presumably goes back to knocking the hell out of a punchbag in the gym, this being an activity the scriptwriters repeatedly home in on in order to demonstrate that being a nerd doesn't necessarily mean you can't be macho too. Oh; and he also (presumably) goes back to mooning over the death of his father, who died in a plane crash in 1990 in South America for reasons the nerd cannot understand but which may have something to do with the fact that the plane his father was travelling in, er, crashed.

So. There it is. ‘The Recruit': as plot-less, witless, charm-less and pointless as anything to emerge from the US in recent times. But hey! Moviemakers have a frankly awful job and they gotta do what they gotta do.

Pacino, however, doesn't. And for that there's really no excuse.

Rating: 0 /10.

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