out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
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
Buy movie posters!