Review: The Recruit (2003)

The Recruit (2003)

Directed by: Roger Donaldson | 105 minutes | action, thriller | Actors: Al Pacino, Colin Farrell, Bridget Moynahan, Gabriel Macht, Mike Realba, Kenneth Mitchell, Ron Lea, Karl Pruner, Jeanie Calleja, Domenico Fiore, Angelo Tsarouchas

James Clayton, played by Colin Farrell (‘Minority Report’, ‘Phone Booth’), is a brilliant computer freak who goes his own way and doesn’t care about anyone. He is recruited by a mysterious CIA agent named Walter Burke (Al Pacino). At first, James refuses. He finally agrees to find out more about the disappearance of his father, who worked for the CIA. At “The Farm,” the CIA’s training facility, James, along with other recruits, undergoes rigorous physical and psychological training. After completing training, James is given his first assignment, which involves spying on Layla Moore (Bridget Moynahan), because she is suspected of double espionage. The matter is complicated because he has a secret love affair with her.

‘The Recruit’ has a slow start in the beginning, partly because James Clayton has to be trained from A to Z in the intricacies of the espionage profession. From the moment he receives his first assignment, the story picks up speed, but there is no real denouement. The script is too limited for that, explanation about the espionage profession takes too much time and there is no more room for character development. The film therefore becomes superficial. The present action scenes can no longer save ‘The Recruit’.

The viewer is misled here and there because the makers have more information than they show during the course of the film. This is a cheap way to make a thriller. Actively thinking along who the mole is is taken away from the viewer. What remains then is watching the movie while enjoying a bag of chips and a glass of cola and let everything come over you. It will be clear that ‘The Recruit’ does not rise above the average action film. For that, the makers should have recruited a better script writer.

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