Rated PG-13 for violence, sexuality and language.
Directed By: Roger Donaldson
Written By: Roger Towne and Karl Wimmer
Staring: Al Pacino, Colin Farrell, Bridget Moynahan, Gabriel Macht, Kenneth Mitchell, and Mike Realba
Nothing… is… what it seems. -Walter Burke
A brilliant young CIA trainee is asked by his mentor to help find a mole in the Agency.
Al Pacino and Colin Farrell have so much charisma they could probably sell dental floss and make it interesting, but in The Recruit both turned out what felt like lackluster performances. For a film that didn’t have a great deal of depth to it, brilliance in the acting department may have made this movie more exciting than it was. Everything about The Recruit was sub-par to movies that have done the same things better either before or after this film was made.
A man played by Colin Farrell is recruited by a hard edged “Spook” that happened to know a thing or two about Farrell’s father that had passed away under circumstances he was never filled in on, because he was himself a C.I.A. agent. A computer genius and quick witted, Walter Burke had found himself the recruit of all recruits. Unfortunately, his obsession with his fathers death and who his father was distracted him from focusing at times, but Burke could see if pushed the potential was there. When he washes out after an interrogation he is more than surprised when Pacino shows up offering him theposition to be a Noc and spy on his love interest in the film. Suddenly everything is in the air and it’s difficult to see fact from fiction.
If you’re going to have a shocking, plot twisting story, where yourself and the main character doesn’t know what’s going on, the film makers should have a clue. There should be some form of solidity for the story to fall on, instead of the constant disruption that makes the film feel like it’s in a constant cyclone that it doesn’t even know how it’s going to end. The Recruit had a good foundation, but left the viewer as disoriented as it’s main character. To make a little more sense it should have given a few more clues.
Considering the subject matter the pacing was also off. There was never the feel that the plot was actually pushing forward. There was also the strange feeling that no matter what our as going to be OK . Never even once did it feel like Farrell was in danger of being caught or killed. It seemed obvious in each scene that he would evade that outcome. It lacked that necessary suspense a film in this genre’s needs in order to make their events seem worth something.
Everything about The Recruit felt like it was by the numbers. It was an OK way to pass a few hours because it did have intelligence to the story and Pacino and Farrell are still interesting even when they aren’t at their best, but in general the film lacked a life force that is essential in this kind of suspense thriller. The finale was predictable and a bit too melodramatic for the two hours that preceded it. The Recruit fell short in just about all it’s categories. It was mundane and forgetful.