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The Recruit

215 customer reviews

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(May 27, 2003)
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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.

Special Features

"Spy School: Inside The CIA Training Program" -- A Never-Before-Seen Look Inside The CIA|Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary|Feature Commentary With Director Roger Donaldson And Colin Farrell

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: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (215 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JLX2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,845 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Recruit" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Joe Sherry on July 29, 2003
Format: DVD
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nearly Nubile on May 3, 2004
Format: DVD
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By mrliteral VINE VOICE on December 5, 2003
Format: DVD
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Darren Harrison VINE VOICE on October 22, 2009
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
It's always interesting to watch a movie that was filmed in your back-yard and even though the Washington Navy Yard (where I work) is nothing like it is depicted in the movie (I am guessing the filmmakers could not gain access to the secured home of NCIS) this movie still has enough local color to keep Washingtonians interested.
But aside from that, this movie is a generally entertaining thriller with some excellent performances by Al Pacino, Colin Farrell and the criminally underrated Bridget Moynahan. Farrell plays James Clayton, a brilliant computer programmer who moonlights as a bartender who is recuited by CIA headhunter Walter Burke (played with flair by Pacino). After passing the entrance test Clayton (along with fellow recruit Layla Moore played by Moynahan) is sent the CIA traing facility nicknamed "The Farm." What follows is a thrilling action adventure with enough twists and turns to keep the viewer enthralled.
The 2003 movie may not have appeared an obvious choice to be one of the earlier Blu-ray catalog titles (released June 3, 2008) due to its rather bleak look, but I am certainly glad it was picked because its 1080p transfer is really quite good. Though not reference quality it is quite pleasing with enough of those high definition details (such as Farrell's trademark stubble), clarity and color reproduction to please PQ enthusiasts.
The audio is somewhat average by comparison with good balance and a pleasing surround effect, and the Blu-ray of "The Recruit" is undoubtedly the best soundtrack you are ever likely to hear for the movie.
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