The Recruit

A Film Review By Jason L. King

Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, sexuality and language.
Starring: Al Pacino and Collin Farrell
Directed by:Roger Donaldson

Final Grade:

I’ve never been asked to join the CIA. I probably never will. I guess that doesn’t bother me. After all I can’t really imagine myself being any good at it anyway. But the one thing I have learned after watching The Recruit is that in the CIA everything is a test. If everything is a test, the CIA can’t be that hard, in fact it sounds a lot like college, so maybe I could make it in the CIA after all. But instead of chasing a pointless pipe dream in this review, I’ll just get on with what I do know something about, that being movie reviews.

Box offices have been giving us an influx of low grade movies over the past month, mainly due to the fact that the beginning of the year is where they dump their not so successful movies on audiences, so the production companies can lose their money early on in the year, and have the rest of the year to make up for it. Luckily however, you can find a few good apples amongst the rotting ones, even in the bleak winter month of February.

The Recruit, the newest Al Pacino and Collin Farrell movie proves to be that one good apple in the bunch. The Recruit is the story of James Clayton (Collin Farrell), a young, handsome, cocky computer whiz who is at the top of his graduating class. (I have been told it’s hard to find such people at places other than ISU). Clayton is recruited by CIA recruiter Walter Burke (Al Pacino), who takes Clayton under his wing as he begins training him to be a CIA officer. Clayton quickly learns that in order to rise in rank at the CIA, you must realize that nothing you see is real, and that everything is a potential test. However, as Clayton works his way up through the ranks, he finds a love interest in another fellow recruit, a girl named Layla. But when Clayton is given a special assignment to find a CIA mole, Clayton must use everything he has learned to find the mole and figure out who is on his side.

The Recruit is one of the first movies that has ever given movie goers a close look at what the CIA is really like and the movie does a great job of it. (Once again, this is speculation since the CIA won’t recruit me) The movie drags in spots but over all is a more of a guilty pleasure, due to a series of twists and turns that keeps the viewer guessing up till the very end.

However, the thing that makes The Recruit a great movie is not a great plot or a shocking ending, it is the actors themselves that make the movie great. Pacino has a history of great movies, and The Godfather himself proves that he still has it in him after last years box office success, Insomnia and now The Recruit. Collin Farrell is quickly rising in the ranks as a Hollywood hero, and has the potential to be a great in a short period of time. He has all the characteristics of an upcoming star, young, handsome, cocky and a series of upcoming movie deals including a role in Daredevil which is due out in theaters in a few weeks. I know I am looking forward to seeing more of this rising star in the future. Farrell’s performance nicely compliments Pacino’s and the two of them together have a chemistry that is shown throughout the entire film.

It is unfortunate however that the rest of the film is lacking that chemistry. Like I stated earlier, the film lags in spots, and runs a little on the long side. I quickly learned that the movie is not supposed to be a thinking movie, in fact the more you think about it the less you enjoy it. But in the broad scheme of things, these are things that can be overlooked. The film, directed by Roger Donaldson (Species, Dante’s Peak, Thirteen Days), is a definite step forward for the director, and shows us that he does have a chance for a bright future.

Is The Recruit worth all your time and money? Sure why not. It’s not the most shocking thing in film history and will be a film that will be soon forgotten except for when it becomes the TNT movie of the week in couple of years. Never the less, The Recruit is a decent flick that is hidden amongst a slew of mediocre films in the box offices. Being hidden amongst movies like this I fear that The Recruit is going to be overlooked, which is unfortunate for a movie that deserves to at least be recognized. I guess that the successes of the film will be a test as well. All I can do is hope that it passes the test and the great acting this film provides gives the actors the credit they deserve.

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