The Recruit

'Trust no one!' confides grizzled senior CIA instructor Walter Burke (Pacino) to favoured new recruit, computer whiz and surrogate son James Clayton (Farrell) at the Langley farm. That goes for Donaldson too, a skilful negotiator of the crooked corridors of the political thriller. Here, however, he comes dangerously close to turning out a Tony Scott movie: Top Gun for spooks. Not only is MIT graduate Clayton as flash and fast hacking at a Mac keyboard as Maverick was at the controls of an F14 Tomcat, he goes through the same predictably torturous graduation. Will he get to join the ranks of his country's underpaid secret heroes? True, Donaldson doesn't quite turn the film into a Company PR exercise, despite the dreadful speechifying. The so-called 'tests' are too risible for that. But he does struggle with the competing twists and turns of the multi-handed script. Farrell and Pacino ensure the first half is fully entertaining. But thereafter the movie descends disappointingly into a morass of double cross, disguise, death and deceit as the games become a deadly 'real' race to save the world from a power-disabling electronic virus.

Release details

Duration: 115 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Roger Donaldson
Screenwriter: Roger Towne, Kurt Wimmer, Mitch Glazer
Cast: Al Pacino
Colin Farrell
Bridget Moynahan
Gabriel Macht
Karl Pruner
Mike Realba
Dom Fiore
Ron Lea
Jeanie Calleja
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