Home | Reviews | Exclusive Writings | Great Links | Miscellaneous | FAQ | Contact Us

The Recruit /

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Al Pacino, Colin Farrell, Bridget Moynahan, Gabriel Macht, Kenneth Mitchell 

Directed by: Roger Donaldson 

Produced by: Gary Barber, Jeff Apple, Roger Birnbaum 

Written by: Roger Towne, Kurt Wimmer, Akiva Goldsman, Mitch Glazer 

Distributor: Touchstone Pictures


Movie Image
Movie Image
Movie Image

     Al Pacino has now sunken to a new low level, which no actor ever wants to reach. He is now carelessly picking mindless screenplays, clichéd and predictable, that’s characters have hardly any depth. Despite his miraculous performance as Detective Will Dormer in Insomnia, The Recruit, his latest film, and Simone, a previous effort last year, are just plain boring. The twists and the turns that the plot takes in The Recruit are foreshadowed by repetitive dialogue, which makes us feel uninvolved in the entire movie. This film has potential to work as a television show, similar to C.S.I., but as a feature film it falls short. I did like Colin Farrell’s breakout performance, however. He is a definite rising star.

     The boring and simplistic plot, which disguises itself as intelligent, is not entertaining to watch. “Everything is a test” is the once interesting, but rundown and overly complicated quote, in which the entire story lives by. Following the main character, James Clayton (Colin Farrell), a technology-wizard, who has developed an ingenious program. Ready to market with Dell, Clayton is on the road to success. Before he can do so, however, he is recruited by Walter Burke (Al Pacino), to serve for the C.I.A. He is sent to training school; a tough battle between the most intelligent young people alive. James regrets the decision of accepting Burke’s offer, when complications arise, and he falls in love with a double-agent.

     Colin Farrell is a star in the making; the perfect actor. Appealing in every aspect, and popular with the ladies, Farrell is both a sex symbol (though I wouldn’t know), and a solid performer. His most hailed performance, however, is yet to come. Raves from the Toronto Film Festival lead me to believe that Farrell’s Phone Booth will be the first good Joel Schumacher film (it’ll be released in late March). Delivering a better performance than the veteran c-star, Pacino, Farrell is the only limb that The Recruit is able to hold onto. His character James Clayton is one of the more intriguing geek’s I’ve seen in a recent film. Actually believable as his character, Farrell proves that Clayton is more than just a computer wiz. As an actor, he exhibits that this type of person doesn’t only shine his pocket protector for a living. His performance is nowhere near Oscar caliber, but is very watchable.

     The direction, by Roger Donaldson (the maker of films I’ve enjoyed in the past), is very well done. While what’s going on onscreen might not be very exciting, the camerawork is interesting to watch. The last shot in the film is simply haunting, even though the material is still very flawed. This is an example of what two people can do for a movie. If you were to remove Donaldson and Farrell from the cast and crew of The Recruit, than it would’ve been literally nothing; a zero bucket movie. Donaldson’s way with the video makes the entire film crisply sharp to look at; one thing a lot of other films are lacking. As good as they were, this filmmaker and actor combination is not enough to save the piece from deserving a negative rating.

     Mostly boring and overrated, The Recruit has its moments, but doesn’t prevail in the end. I was semi-entertained by its content, but at other times it was just dreadful. Pacino probably gave his worst performance of all time, and he has grown to be old and boring. Farrell, however, makes the movie interesting, and holds the film together with his great character. Donaldson’s direction is wonderfully done as well, but could hardly be called extravagant. I truly think that this would be a great crime-drama for the primetime lineup. It is just light and easy-going enough, to make the interesting training for the C.I.A. pleasurable to watch. For now, The Recruit is no good. In the future, it could be easily improved, with further developments.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews


Back to Home
The Bucket Review's Rating Scale