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Cass' review of
The Recruit


The Recruit (2003)
Rated PG-13; running time 105 minutes
Genre: Thriller
Written by: Roger Towne, Kurt Wimmer, Mitch Glazer
Directed by: Roger Donaldson
Cast: Al Pacino, Colin Farrell, Bridget Moynahan, Gabriel Macht, Kenneth Mitchell

Review Copyright Cassandra Henry, 2003

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"Nothing is what it seems." -- Al Pacino

CASS' CLIP (WARNING: **spoilers below**)
The Recruit's opening sequence is snippets of newspaper articles, accident reports and a photograph of a father and son. These clues may unravel the mysterious death of a Shell Oil executive in Peru.

Recent MIT graduate, James Clayton (Colin Farrell) is a computer whiz, who bartends by day to help pay for his lifetime of student loan debts. Clayton and his friends attend a job fair hosted by some of the top technological companies. During the job fair, James loads Spartacus, a computer program that turns other computers into its slave. Walter Burke (Al Pacino), a CIA recruiter/senior instructor, sees James' clever stunt and is impressed. Burke tries to recruit James to be a CIA agent, but James isn't interested in playing spy games for the Central Intelligence Agency. That is, until Burke tells Clayton some vague information about how his father may have died in a bizarre plane crash in Peru. Of course this piques James' interest. [Sucker!!!]

Before James can become a CIA agent, he and the other potential recruits must go through background checks, take the entrance exam, and go through a series of interviews and psychological tests. Sparks fly when James notices fellow recruit, Layla (Bridget Moynahan). [LOVE INTEREST]. They both pass round one and move on to round two - training exercises at the CIA facility - the "Farm". Once there, Burke teaches the recruits the art of surveillance, and how to deceive, conceal, disguise and detect. Burke requires the recruits to memorize three mottos regarding the espionage world, "Nothing is what it seems, Everyting is a test, and Trust your instincts." Also, rule no. 1 is, "Don't get caught."

Burke assigns James to a top-secret mission within the CIA and he tells him that Layla is a double agent. [Damn, Damn, Damn -- not my new girlfriend!!!] Will James' training be enough for him to discern the truth or will he be the latest casualty to fall prey to a screenwriter's script that putters at the end?

DA 411
Okay people, I started out liking The Recruit for two reasons -- Al Pacino and Colin Farrell. Even though I expected the typical spy movie set-up, the first hour of The Recruit was pretty cool. Then, something unexpected happened, The Recruit met Training Day, and the suspenseful beginning turned into an unavoidable train wreck. Don't get me wrong, all the actors, especially Farrell, did their part telling the screenwriters' story. And therein lies the problem -- the last half of the story. What happened guys? It's too bad that you resorted to car chases and the standard empty warehouse scene over an original ending, because you had me at "hello."

Moviegoers should trust their instincts, especially in the case of The Recruit, because "Nothing is what it seems."

THE RECRUIT:   fyellow

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Copyright Cassandra Henry, 2003

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More 3BlackChicks™ review(s) for this week:
(movies reviewed through 1/31/03):
Cass' reviews:
The Recruit | Final Destination 2

Bams' reviews:
The Recruit | Biker Boyz

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