The Recruit
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo from Touchstone Pictures

The operative phrase in the CIA thriller The Recruit is that “nothing is what it seems.” Directed by Roger Donaldson who brought us No Way Out, another thriller set in Washington D.C., The Recruit also increases your heart rate with action while engaging your mind in trying to figure out what is really going on. The beauty of the film is that it keeps you guessing to the very end while maintaining characters that engage the audiences’ emotions.

Al Pacino plays CIA senior instructor and recruiter Walter Burke. Colin Farrell and Bridget Moynahan play the starring recruit roles. A large part of the film is devoted to CIA basic training, but once again, nothing is what it seems and the audience is never really sure what is training and what is not. Though Pacino’s seasoned acting talent sometimes steals the screen, Farrell and Moynahan have an intriguing innocence in their characters that keeps the audience on the edge of their seat, wondering if this innocence will be lost in a profession that trains to lie and deceive. All-in-all Pacino’s character is well balanced against Farrell and Moynahan’s in an agency that claims to be working for “the greater good.”

Like No Way Out, The Recruit isn’t deep or thought provoking, but its plot twists do engage the brain in an entertaining way and the acting, direction and editing are almost flawless. However, there is something a bit unsatisfying about the endings of both films. Yes they surprise you, and at the same time you say “ah yes,” because the endings are subtly foreshadowed throughout the films, but the endings are no more than a “who done it” surprise. With all the artistry that went into producing these films, they should have produced more artistic profundity in the end.

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