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The Recruit

3.8 out of 5 stars 222 customer reviews

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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 (222 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JLX2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,017 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Recruit" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Revealing and Scary

The recruit is an excellent movie that gives some very real insight into the world of national security and the inherent flaws in any intelligence agency that does not have sufficient controls, oversight, and transparency. This movie is all too real in showing what actually has happened repeatedly in our intelligence agencies, where rogue agents are allowed to set up their own private operations that have nothing to do with national security and often betray our national security.

The compartmentalization used by such agencies has created a monster that is undermining our nation from within far faster than any foreign power can from without.

It also deals nicely with some of the primary tools of such agencies such as betrayal and psychological manipulation. It reveals in great detail the slimy, sleazy, sorry underbelly of espionage.

I have seen this movie on cable before and they cut it up so much the movie loses its impact. Watching it on DVD is much better.

This movie is a perfect example of why JFK had planned to dismantle the CIA and why Jimmy Carter severely reduced their numbers. It is easy to pass this off as just another thriller or suspense movie, but if you pay attention this movie has a lot of very real and important information to reveal.

The acting is first rate as well.
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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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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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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, who had an alleged connection to the agency prior to the old man's disappearance. Serving as James's mentor is Walter Burke, played by Al Pacino, who hints at knowing something about the young man's father. James joins other new recruits, including Layla Moore, played by Bridget Moynahan, at "The Farm", the CIA's training facility. Unfortunately, things soon become complicated with an unexpected dismissal and the possibility of a mole inside the agency. This was a different sort of spy thriller and it was quite something to watch. Al Pacino was my favorite, but I'm choosing from a cast that did great all-around. I do question why this film needed a love interest, but Bridget Moynahan wasn't dull, so I'll give my own question a pass. She fits in well and actually contributes to the story. If you like films about spies, this is a must-have for your collection. Heck, it's a must-have, no matter what. Enjoy.
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