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The Recruit (PG-13)
Official Site
Director: Roger Donaldson
Producers: Roger Birnbaum, Jeff Apple, Gary Barber
Written by: Roger Towne, Kurt Wimmer, Mitch Glazer
Cast: Colin Farrell, Al Pacino, Bridget Moynahan, Gabriel Macht

Rating: out of 5

This slick, enjoyable spy flick may well be remembered as the first star vehicle for the Irish actor Colin Farrell. He plays James Clayton, an MIT grad whoís recruited into the the C.I.A. by an especially charismatic instructor to follow in his fatherís footsteps. Since appearing in Joel Schumacherís Tigerland a few years ago, Farrell has been in high demand. He did a solid job in last summerís Minority Report and heís set for the role of Bullseye in the upcoming Daredevil. In The Recruit Farrell is in almost every scene, and he fills it up nicely. Hyped as not just another pretty face, he gives another finely nuanced performance in this otherwise by-the-numbers spook film. Darkly handsome, he has a brooding manner and soulful eyes that dart around in a way that suggests a lively mind.

Al Pacino gives us a familiar performance as cool-as-they-come C.I.A. veteran and recruiter, Walter Burke. His slogan is ďNothing is as it seems,Ē and he leads Farrell and the other recruits through a series of tasks designed test their abilities and endurance. Pacino makes for a particularly smug taskmaster, when perhaps the character would have been better served by a quieter performance and a bit more of an avuncular touch, but Alís in his Devilís Advocate mode throughout the entire movie. Heís an actor who became a star: Al Pacino plays Al Pacino the way John Wayne played John Wayne, and Cary Grant played Cary Grant. He hasnít really stretched since Donnie Brasco and itís now hard to recognize this as the same man gave those slow simmering performances as Michael Corleone. Not that Alís not watchable any more. He still has enough charisma to fill the screen, but itís hard to imagine hiring this flamboyant gasbag he plays to keep secrets.

Director Roger Donaldson keeps things moving smoothly enough, but thereís nothing that stands out. The training, the snooping, the car chase, the overly cutesy ending, nothing will really stay with you for more than a week. Heís helped out by some sharp dialogue from the writers and Bridget Moynahan sparkles as Farrellís love interest, another recruit whom Burke pegs as a mole. The film evokes the great, underappreciated thriller No Way Out, but never matches that filmís intensity or powerfully woven paranoia.

All in all, The Recruit may be as generic as its title and trailers suggest, but in this, the lean season for movies, it provides enough talent and thrills to keep you awake.

óEdward Rholes


hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

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