Film Review: Everything is what it is seems in 'The Recruit'

    As far as typical action thrillers go, “”The Recruit”” isn’t half bad, but those who seek an original, intellectually stimulating movie experience ought to do something other than rush out and see it. Irish heartthrob Colin Farrell plays James Clayton, a sharp, intelligent young recruit for the CIA who has been handpicked by Walter Burke (Al Pacino), a veteran training instructor for the agency. Things heat up between Clayton and a sexy trainee, Layla Moore (Bridget Moynahan), and this threatens to compromise Clayton’s exemplary integrity, especially when Burke assigns to him the task of investigating his new lover as a double agent. Burke’s motto at training is that “”nothing here is what it seems,”” foreshadowing the twists and turns of the plot that are all-too predictable.

    The plot of the movie is centered around the CIA, yet the amount of neat little technological gadgets on screen, which usually carry this type of movie, is minimal. In other words, if the movie is going for a James Bond look, then it should go all the way. Instead, the only intelligence in this movie comes from the witty one-liners, mostly from Burke, Pacino’s character.

    The chase scenes and twists upon twists all lead up to the big surprise ending. No, who’d have thought that it would end that way? But seriously, a decent cinema experience is all about the journey, not the ending, and this is what director Roger Donaldson (“”Thirteen Days,”” “”White Sands,”” “”Cocktail””) gives the audience — a decent journey.

    Farrell, the straight-faced protagonist, has been appearing in countless movies lately (“”Minority Report,”” “”Daredevil””) and has potential to distinguish himself as a diverse actor, but is also prone to becoming another Keanu Reeves, surviving solely on good looks and maintaining a career of playing the same character in many different movies, like Pacino has more or less done. Farrell is indeed super sexy, as is Moynahan (“”The Sum of All Fears””), but the chemistry between the two is sporadic at best.

    The aspect of paranoia seems the most relevant and entertaining in this movie — paranoia in the romantic relationship between Moore and Clayton, and paranoia of everyone whom Clayton makes contact with. True, these themes are mounting cliches in recent action-thriller cinema, but still have the power to keep the audience guessing at every corner of the plot. But guesses turn out to be true more often than not in this transparent plot. Those who have watched any action movie in the past five years will know the ending of “”The Recruit”” within the first five minutes of the movie. Yes, this movie can wait until it comes out on DVD. There’s no need to shell out $9 of mom and dad’s hard-earned cash to see it so soon in theaters, although it is a whole lotta Farrell on that big screen.

    ***

    “”The Recruit””

    Starring Al Pacino and Colin Farrel

    Rated PG-13

    Now playing

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal