Fred’s No Clue Movie Review

"The Recruit"
Directed by Roger Donaldson

    I couldn’t wait to see this movie, because it had a kick butt trailer.  I wasn’t disappointed.  The Recruit is a glossy Hollywood thriller about CIA trainees.  It may be a little formulaic, but it’s never insulting to the viewer.  It’s also honest and apparently the filmmakers had unprecedented access to the CIA.  (Alas, I think the TV show “ALIAS”, has more twists and better writing than this film.)  The film didn’t blow me away with the greatest cinematography or the best shots.  But I liked it for what it was, a top-notch action thriller. 

    It features an appealing cast headlined by Colin Farrell, as CIA trainee James Clayton, and Al Pacino, as recruiter Walter Burke.  They do a fine job and give some nice performances.  Bridget Moynahan is also along for the ride and provides some much needed beauty to this testosterone fest.  She’s the hot chick that played Ben Affleck’s girlfriend in last summer’s The Sum of All Fears.  Donaldson, is kind of a forgettable director, you don’t know his name, but you’ve seen his work.  He’s directed Dante’s Peak, Species and Cocktail.  He makes a very credible and enjoyable film here. 

    Farrell is coming up in the world.  Last summer he played opposite Tom Cruise in my favorite film of the past year, Minority Report.  Here he doesn’t really flex the acting muscles too much, but he’s totally believable.  In my opinion, he’d make a great CIA agent.  He’s able to handle the role both physically and mentally.  It shows that he’d be at home in a big budget thriller or action flick, as much as, he was in the small little movie, Tigerland.  Pacino is Pacino, but this is not his best performance.  He was much better in Insomnia last year.

    The plot of the movie concerns James Clayton, a reckless computer expert who moonlights as a bartender at night, being presented with a choice.  Go into the computer business full time with his great new idea, or do something bigger.  Be a part of the CIA and help defend the USA.  Walter Burke, recruits Clayton, sees great potential in him.  Burke also knows of Clayton’s father, who James desperately seeks information on.  James joins up and soon heads to the FARM, the CIA training facility.  It’s a very intriguing plot and gives you all kinds of insight into what it must take to become an agent.  It’s also filled with some twists and turns along the way.  I could see them coming, but I still had fun finding out.  And it’s got some great catch phrases too.  Like “Nothing is what it seems” and “Everything’s a test.”

    I think this is a quality film and if you’ve got the time, go see it.  You’ll like it.  If you’re a fan of intrigue and thrills, it’s got both.  Just remember, “Nothing is what it seems”. 

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