Pacino, Colin Farrell, Bridget Moynahan, Gabriel Macht
by: Gary Barber, Jeff Apple, Roger Birnbaum
Written by: Roger Towne, Kurt Wimmer, Akiva Goldsman,
Distributor: Touchstone Pictures
insiders view into the CIAs secret training
ground: The Farm. James Clayton (Colin Farrell) might
not have the attitude of a typical recruit, but he is
one of the smartest graduating seniors in the country
and hes just the person that Walter Burke
(Al Pacino) wnats in the Agency. James regards the CIAs
mission as an intriguing alternative to an ordinary
life, but before he becomes an Ops Officer, James has
to survive the Farm, where the veteran Burke teaches
him the ropes and the rules of the game. James quickly
rises through the ranks and falls for Layla (Bridget
Moynahan), one of his fellow recruits. But just when
James starts to question his role and decides to wash
out, Burke taps him for a special assignment to
root out a mole. As the suspense builds toward a gripping
climax, it soon becomes clear that at The Farm, the
CIAs old maxims are true: trust no one
and nothing is as it seems.
was previously called 'The Farm' - but that may have
made audiences think of manure, so all change to the
even blander 'The Recruit'. However it still reeks of
a strictly by the numbers thriller - i.e. not that thrilling
or original really. Remember Redford and Pitt in last
years 'Spy Game'? No doubt, some refs to 9/11 have been
inserted to give it a bang-up-to-the-minute feel. However
the most intruiging aspect is the continued elevation
of the 5 foot 6 inch Farrell into bigtime movies. Pretty
face, but hardly any substance higher than the average
Melrose Place actor. Very odd.
kid... I'm the guy in this flick with the stubble
depressing see talented filmmakers like Donaldson and Towne
go straight down the predictable Hollywood action thriller
route, but that's exactly what they do here. James Clayton
(Farrell) is a computer whiz kid drafted into the CIA by top
recruiter Walter Burke (Pacino), who accompanies him to The
Farm and trains him as a super spy. Clayton's fellow recruits
include the feisty Layla (Moynahan) and the hothead Zack (Macht).
And before Burke can again say, "Nothing is what it seems,"
everything starts twisting and turning for all the characters.
Is there a real conspiracy afoot? Or is it another test?
Ho hum. If this film catches you off guard you don't see enough
movies. Everything is so clearly signposted that you can't
possibly be surprised by any of the Big Plot Twists, right
to the bombastic finale in (where else?) an abandoned warehouse.
Meanwhile, Pacino delivers one of his most scene-chewing performances
ever, barking his dialog and snapping the veins in his neck,
even in the supposedly quiet scenes. Farrell and Moynahan
fare much better, grabbing our interest and carrying us through
the film. Yes, this is very watchable, glossy entertainment
with a nice sheen of intelligence running through it along
with subtext about Clayton's missing-presumed-dead father
(but it's all show). Technically, it's efficiently well-made,
and the story is constructed tight enough that we only see
the gaping holes if we pause to think about them, which is
something the filmmakers work very hard to keep us from doing.
By the time the plot starts closing in on the requisite ending,
we have almost convinced ourselves that this is a good little
thriller. Then as it begins to play its final hand we realize
that it's just the same old rubbish after all. email@example.com>
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