Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Feature commentary with director Roger
Donaldson and actor Colin Farrell; Deleted scenes with optional
commentary; Spy School; Inside The CIA Training Program.
HAVING exposed the inner machinations of both the White House
(13 Days) and the Pentagon
(No Way Out), director, Roger Donaldson, now turns his attentions
to the CIA for a topical cat-and-mouse thriller that delivers
its fair share of thrills, as well as two great performances.
The Recruit arrives at a time when a countrys first line
of defence, intelligence, is more important than ever, and follows
the progress of Colin Farrells rookie, James Clayton, as
he is recruited and then trained as an Ops Officer by Al Pacinos
wily veteran, Walter Burke.
Rising quickly through the ranks, Claytons novice is then
assigned the task of finding a mole within the organisation, forcing
him into a tense psychological battle between his mentor and the
woman he has just started a relationship with (played by Bridget
Moynahan), while also wrestling with his inner demons over the
unexplained disappearance of his father.
Despite being riddled with cliché, The Recruit is, for
the most part, a supremely engaging thriller, containing plenty
of twists and turns along the way to its all-too familiar finale.
It falls some way short of classic status, however, and is nowhere
near as clever as it thinks it is, despite offering viewers a
fascinating and timely insight into the inner workings of the
Where the film really scores, however, is in its central pairing.
For while Donaldsons direction occasionally feels rather
pedestrian, it is the double act of Pacino and Farrell which really
keeps things lively.
Pacino has long been an actor who can make the most mundane material
appear better than it is, and is once again on form as the inspirational
instructor, but his chemistry with Farrell is particularly strong
and serves to elevate the movie to something far better than it
Farrell, too, deserves credit, exuding charisma and seldom allowing
himself to be outshone by his illustrious co-star. The two clearly
possess a mutual appreciation for each other which is translated
For Farrell, this could herald his arrival on the Hollywood A-list
- a place he has seemed destined to take since his big screen
breakthrough in Joel Schumachers Tigerland.
His interplay with Moynahans love-interest and potential
moll is also well-realised, and lends a darker edge to the sexual
tension which surrounds the middle section of proceedings.
But then, it is only when things begin to unravel and motives
become clear that they start to feel tired. Until that point,
youll be having too much fun to notice.