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The Recruit (2003)

Al Pacino , Colin Farrell , Roger Donaldson  |  PG-13 |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Al Pacino, Colin Farrell, Bridget Moynahan, Gabriel Macht, Mike Realba
  • Directors: Roger Donaldson
  • Writers: Kurt Wimmer, Mitch Glazer, Roger Towne
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1), French (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Touchstone Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 27, 2003
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JLX2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,601 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Recruit" on IMDb

Special Features

"Spy School: Inside The CIA Training Program" -- A Never-Before-Seen Look Inside The CIA

Editorial Reviews

Academy Award(R)-Winner Al Pacino (Best Actor, SCENT OF A WOMAN, 1991) and Colin Farrell (MINORITY REPORT) take you deeper into the CIA than you've ever been before in this action-packed psychological thriller. James Clayton (Farrell), one of the smartest graduates in the country, is just the person Walter Burke (Pacino) wants in the Agency. James quickly rises through the ranks and falls for Layla (Bridget Moynahan, THE SUM OF ALL FEARS), one of his fellow recruits. But just when James starts to question his role and his cat-and-mouse relationship with his mentor, Burke taps him to root out a mole. As the suspense builds in a maze of gripping twists and turns, there are only two things James can count on -- he can't trust anyone and nothing is as it seems. It's the ultimate CIA thriller with so many surprise plot twists, you'll want to watch it again and again.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars VERY WATCHABLE DESPITE THE MISSING MEAT.. May 3, 2004
The theme of a grizzled mentor and a hyper-energetic but gullible new recruit is a somewhat dated one (in recent memory, Spy Game, Training Day etc) but I watched this movie with no expectations, and found that it does a fairly good job of being fastpaced and gripping.
What rides it above the predictability that could have drawn it down is its riveting pace. Glossy visuals are a plus too. The eminently watchable Pacino is no slouch in the charisma department as usual. Farrell merits a special mention, he maintains a credible dignity that lends a certain cachet to the movie, and his chemistry with Moynahan is searing.
Last but not the least, there are not-so-subtle references to recent CIA glitches, most likely 911 and Gulf War.
You'll probably not watch this flick more than once, but it's a decent rental for the first time. The extras on the DVD include some deleted scenes that reassured me that the movie is very well edited. Which helps.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars it's no spy game July 29, 2003
A Film by Roger Donaldson
The Recruit is a film about the CIA and a training facility called "The Farm". Walter Burke (Al Pacino) is a teacher at The Farm and is trying to recruit James Clayton (Colin Farrell) to join the CIA. Clayton is intrigued both by how Burke sells the CIA and also because Burke claims some knowledge about Clayton's father (who disappeared/was killed in 1990). Clayton goes along for the ride and the first half of the movie is the training at the Farm.
The first half of the movie (barring the first 5-10 minutes) is by far the best of the movie. If the quality would have held up, this could have been a great movie. During the training we meet Layla (Bridget Moynahan), who may or may not be a spy. Burke tells Clayton early in the movie that nothing is as it seems. If we keep that in mind we have to accept that anything we are presented is a lie. This makes the first half of the movie very interesting but also makes the second half of the movie fairly conventional. Nothing is really wrong with it, but nothing is really right with the second hour. There are a couple of twists that aren't really unexpected, but nothing too spectacular.
Here's the bottom line: I enjoyed watching the movie, but it was ultimately empty and forgettable. Al Pacino gets to give a nice speech (a wonderful, but typical Pacino explosion), and everyone does a good job, but the movie is just lacking...I think it is lacking any kind of real story. If you want to see a better movie in this genre, see Spy Game. It's a much better movie.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent spy flick December 5, 2003
The Recruit is a better-than-average spy thriller that is able to exceed its relatively routine storyline. It succeeds due to the good writing and the acting of the two principal leads, Al Pacino and Colin Farrell.
Farrell plays an ace computer programmer haunted by the death of his father over a decade earlier. Pacino is a recruiter for the CIA who hints that Farrell's father may have been a member of the company. Farrell enlists and trains for field work; this recruitment and training takes up around half the movie.
The second half of the story has Pacino - one of the main trainers - recruiting Farrell for his first assignment, dealing with a mole within the Agency. Although some of the plot twists are foreseeable, others are less obvious, and if the ending wraps up everything a little too neatly, it is nonetheless satisfying.
In certain ways, this is a rather standard suspense flick, but as said before, it is the writing and acting that help it excel. Farrell holds his own with the veteran Pacino, and the rest of the relatively no-name cast also puts forth a decent effort. The Recruit is a solid four-star flick: not a classic but definitely a pleasant diversion.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everything is a test April 28, 2004
Nothing is as it seems in this movie as Al Pacino plays a recruiter for the CIA who brings in Colin Farrell, playing a young computer programmer, to start a career as a new operative. The movie takes us through the training as well as other action as we see that recruits are tested as much mentally and emotionally, as they are tested physically.
As par for course, Pacino does a great job and has the audience believing his portrayal of the character. Just as the plot is multi-layered, Pacino's character, Burke, is just as multi-layered.
I would recommend seeing this movie. Although the gadgetry is not as you would see in a James Bond movie, it is fascinating seeing the training.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes things are better than they seem January 8, 2005
This is a movie that I initially passed over, always finding something else to buy or borrow (as I don't steal), until I happened to catch the ending on television late one night.

By the next evening it was in my possession, and despite having already watched the ending, I found it to be a surprisingly enjoyable experience.

Al Pacino aced his role as Walter Burke, CIA trainer extraordinaire, and he's not a guy I would ever want to play poker with, even if I did play poker.

Colin Farrell's performance is pretty much like his other movies(except maybe "Alexander", but I haven't seen that yet, and I hate his blonde look), but he really does a great short, dark and handsome, tortured and persecuted thing. This time he's out of the phone booth and using his cell phone, whizzing through movie-style computer gibberish as James Clayton, the star recruit of the latest batch of CIA trainees.

Bridget Moynahan gives much the same performance as she does in "I, Robot", playing it smart and sassy with a real cute pout, and a concerned wrinkle.

Surprises and twists abound, and though you know it's all faked, and nothing is what it seems, it still draws you in. In retrospect, the ending really is the silliest part of the movie, the moral of the story being to sit down and relax whenever you see red dots before your eyes.

Amanda Richards, January 9, 2005
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great movie.
Published 14 days ago by Robert Weaver
1.0 out of 5 stars Fails to tell a clear story
This movie fails to tell a clear story; I simply don't understand the final plot twist. Whether this is because the script is hopelessly flawed or the directing incompetent, I... Read more
Published 24 days ago by njdj
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 1 month ago by ed kuroda
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by RAYMOND RIDGLEY
4.0 out of 5 stars Just look at the casting. It can't go wrong
Spellbinding. Nothing is as it seems, so don't even read the reviews if you truly have that CIA voice inside you!
Published 2 months ago by C. Jacobs
4.0 out of 5 stars Al Pacino is great
This movie definitely spins you around and makes it difficult to get a handle on who is the bad guy and who is the good. Pacino is perfect for the part.
Published 2 months ago by EclecticReader
2.0 out of 5 stars Could not understand it.
Al Pacino is one of my favorites actors, but I just could not get into this movie. It was hard to understand what was going on and why. I got lost halfway through the movie. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sally Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great film.
Published 3 months ago by Bryan of the Lone Islands
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good movie.
Published 3 months ago by Kevin Cashman
5.0 out of 5 stars A Look Inside...
The world of the Central Intelligence has always been shrouded in mystery. Entering this world is James Clayton, played by Colin Farrell, following in the footsteps of his father,... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Philip Scholz
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