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The Recruit

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Recruit

Starring: Al Pacino, Colin Farrell
Director: Roger Donaldson
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 105 Minutes
Release Date: January 2003
Genres: Action, Suspense

*Also starring: Bridget Moynahan, Gabriel Macht, Karl Pruner

Review by Susan Granger
2½ stars out of 4

In the CIA, "Nothing is as it seems" - that's the oft-repeated message of Roger Donaldson's psychological spy thriller. Along with "Trust no one." This paranoia-filled lesson is learned by bartender/hotshot computer whiz James Clayton (Colin Farrell), recruited for The Company by veteran agent Walter Burke (Al Pacino), who rants: "I am a scary judge of talent."

Much of Clayton's indoctrination at the secret instructional facility called The Farm in Virginia consists of working his way through a labyrinth of the lies and betrayals which are tricks of the trade. Then he's given an assignment. He's to track sexy Layla (Bridget Moynahan), a fellow recruit who's landed a desk job in Science & Technology at CIA headquarters. Is she "a sleeper," a mole, a double-agent traitor? It's a cinematic jigsaw puzzle.

As the sly Machiavellian mentor-manipulator, Al Pacino oozes irony and intensity ("Our failures are known," he notes. "Our successes are not.") while scruffy, Dublin-born Colin Farrell dashes around Washington D.C. with exhausting vigor. The script - filled with red herrings - was obviously assembled in tandem with contributions by writers Roger Towne, Mitch Glazer, Kurt Wimmer and, reportedly, uncredited Oscar-winner Akiva Goldsman. Yet no one considered why CIA operatives would communicate on common cellphones which are easily intercepted by eavesdroppers - and is there really a "George Bush Center of Intelligence" at Langley? And who came up with that bizarre conclusion? On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Recruit" is a slick, suspenseful but suspicious 6, aimed at those who relish cloak-and-dagger mind games.

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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