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The Recruit

Trust. Betrayal. Deception. In the C.I.A. nothing is what it seems.  

Year: 2003 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

Colin Farrell stars as James Clayton, an M.I.T Whiz-kid who refuses a big job offer in computing in order to accept the offer of becoming a C.I.A agent from senior instructor and recruiter Walter Burke (Pacino). 

Clayton finds himself taken to “The Farm”, a rustic Central Intelligence Agency training facility in the middle of nowhere. Here, he joins a group of other prospects, including the lovely Layla (Moynahan) and former Miami cop, Zack (Macht). They are taught agent skills through a series of lectures and tests, ranging from the psychological to the physical.  Throughout, Burke plays the role of mentor to Clayton, giving him encouragement and advice along the way, but what is he shaping him up to be?

After his punishing training, Clayton is given a real mission - to help oust a mole within C.I.A. Headquarters. The plot continues where the training ends - twisting and turning between what is real and not, and who is really on whose side.

Colin Farrell is a talented actor, and is certainly tinsel town’s favourite flavour at the moment with this film coming shortly after his successes with Minority Report and Phone Booth (which is also being shown at WSC this term). His rugged good looks, on-screen charm and acting ability have certainly ensured his meteoric rise to fame - a far cry from his days in the TV series Ballykissangel. Some are even touting him to be the next James Bond...

You’d be forgiven for thinking that it would be tough to find someone to work effectively alongside such exciting new talent, but the experienced Al Pacino is a real scene-stealer, his on-screen presence heightened by the rough and tough exterior of his character, Burke. His usual style of forcefulness and anger works well for the guise of a senior instructor, and it’s obvious that he relishes these opportunities to have some fun.

The Recruit finds itself in the unfortunate position of being in a market saturated with spy/agent films catering for all ages. Children have Agent Cody Banks and the Spy Kids, whilst comedy-lovers have the types of Austin Powers, Charlie’s Angels, and Johnny English to tickle their fancy. All this leaves The Recruit facing the like of Ethan Hunt (Mission:Impossible), Jack Ryan (The Sum Of All Fears), Jason Bourne (The Bourne Identity), Xander Cage (xXx) and last but by no means least, James Bond. With all these do-gooders, surely every possible threat to world peace has been eliminated by now? Nonetheless, it is a really good and remarkably watchable film.

Alex Coe

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Screenings of this film:

2003/2004 Autumn Term (35mm)
2003/2004 Autumn Term (35mm)