*** Official "THE RECRUIT" Review Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Edwin Pereyra, Jan 28, 2003.

  1. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 1998
    Messages:
    3,500
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Seeing that there is already a discussion thread started, here's a contribution to the review thread:

    The Recruit from director Roger Donaldson (Thirteen Days, No Way Out) is to be enjoyed only up to the point when one figures out the story’s final trick but certainly no more past its 115-minute running time. The film gives out too many clues early on, which unfortunately, foreshadows the final resolution of its spy games.

    It is layered with twists on top of twists. Those who are able to interpret the clues early on will find the film ultimately predictable and rather disappointing. On the other hand, those who don’t will generally find it enjoyable and even a good spy-thriller. Those who belong in the latter camp however, would be wise not to analyze the film as they exit out of the theater because in retrospect, certain scenes only work within the framework of a very tricky story whose only purpose is to confuse the audience – an aspect of the film that doesn’t necessarily work in its favor.

    The film tells the story of veteran CIA agent Walter Burke (Al Pacino), who recruits a talented new prospect James Clayton (Colin Farrell) into the agency. Bridget Moynahan also plays another CIA trainee. All three principals give respectable performances in their respective roles.

    The film is shot mostly during the winter months including certain scenes containing landmarks within the Washington, D.C. area providing its realistic look and atmosphere.

    The film’s mantra is “Nothing is what it seems”, which is pounded into the audience’s head early on in more ways than one. By doing so, we keep our guards up expecting the unexpected and trying to figure out the film’s next move. I just wish the screenplay did not put too much emphasis on this thereby making it too obvious what the film was trying to achieve.

    In a season filled with films vying for Oscar consideration, The Recruit provides some form of mild entertainment as a break from the more serious and cerebral fare. Even with its shortcomings, it is not a bad film and still gets a mild recommendation.

    ~Edwin
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    32,997
    Likes Received:
    8,062
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "The Recruit". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.



    Crawdaddy
     
  3. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    7,477
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The Recruit (2.5 out of 5) - Sad that "Meh, not bad" represents the best wide release this month has to offer, but there you go. Roger Donaldson is just a solid director all around, so I'd say it's his contributions that save this "Spy Game - lite" from being a total bore. The first half is a rather cool look inside the life of a CIA recruit, but things get a bit wacky at the end of Act II and they never really recover. Pacino monologues his way through a role he could do in his sleep, Farrell proves he's not a half-bad actor when he does normal genre stuff, and the last 10 minutes will have you rolling your eyes in disbelief...unless you figured out the ending halfway through - which is something any halfway intelligent movie freak will be able to do. Fun in some spots, but familiar throughout.
     
  4. Todd Beachler

    Todd Beachler Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2000
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    dull movie with a boring payoff and easy to guess every step of the way. I want my $11.50 back. [​IMG]
     
  5. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    7,477
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    OK, I'm back with my full review. Hope you enjoy the read!

    The Recruit (2.5 out of 5)

    A movie sort of paints itself into a corner when characters repeatedly look directly at the camera and yell "None of this is real! It's all just a test!" All one need do then is take nothing else at face value, and the finale is pretty easy to figure out. Oh, and don't forget that oh-so-not-stunning double-reverse-mega-surprise twist. But most of what goes on in The Recruit is so darn silly that NO ending would shock you...unless it involved animal sex or something.

    Al Pacino loves to rant. To strut. To parade back and forth across a set, bellowing his cadences and tossing his staccato spittle throughout the room. Not surprisingly, he gets ample opportunity to chew scenery in this one. (I suppose we should be grateful that Pacino hasn't gone the "DeNiro Comedy Route", though this beloved performer is fast becoming a parody of himself.)

    Anyone familiar with La Femme Nikita and its less successful American remake Point of No Return can sing along with this plot as it unfurls, only this time we're in the slick world of the CIA. James Clayton (Colin Farrell) is a hotshot computer whiz "recruit"ed by Pacino's all-knowing Walter Burke.

    The first 50 minutes of the film are made up of some rather entertaining (and only occasionally dull) CIA training sequences, but Act III kicks off with a silly twist and the movie seems to get caught in a blizzard of silly twists.

    The draggiest bits involve a beautiful lady recruit whom Clayton butts heads with before inevitably falling for...but look out for those pesky twists, folks. On one hand, plot jolts can breathe life and excitement into a movie. But when a movie doles out incongruous diversions as if they were musical cues, it does a little something to the characters.

    It turns them into cartoons, and moviegoers generally don't care what happens to cartoon characters.

    Roger Donaldson is quietly one of the most consistent directors working today. He can capably handle political drama (13 Days), espionage thrillers (No Way Out), wonderfully cheesy sci-fi (Species), and unappreciated comedy (Cadillac Man). Most of what goes right in The Recruit can be attributed to Donaldson's confident hand and eye for slick (but not overly gaudy) visuals.

    The jury may still be out on whether or not Colin Farrell is the next mega-watt superstar, but he acquits himself amicably well in a curiously underwritten lead role. Bridget Moynahan is a serviceable young actress, and I mean that in multiple ways. But neither performer can cast a shadow under the Eclipse de Pacino. In his quieter moments, he's as good as ever; in his more manic scenes, Pacino's just fun to watch. Even his bad moments are more entertaining than other actors' best.

    Originally entitled "The Farm" (nickname of the CIA training facilities), this one's certainly not bound to smash any B.O. records or cause many flickering Sold Out signs, but it's diverting enough to allow one to overlook myriad familiarities and probably have a fairly good time. Probably not worthy of a multiplex cash-drop, this one's probably best as a DVD recruit.
     
  6. Bill J

    Bill J Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2001
    Messages:
    3,970
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Although The Recruit is not one of the best spy films I have ever seen, I found it far more enjoyable than last year's overrated The Bourne Identity.

    The first two thirds of The Recruit center on Colin Farrell's training at the CIA camp known as "The Farm." I found these scenes to be the most entertaining of the film, although I seriously doubt that some of them accurately portray CIA training. The Recruit feels far less realistic than the more thought provoking Spy Game. Unfortunately the the third act is dull, predictable, and ludicrous.

    The film suffers a bit because of the abundance of twists and turns, each increasingly more ridiculous. The twists make many of the scenes feel redundant, although there are some suspenseful parts. There are some moments of foreshadowing early on in the film that are so obvious, that the rest of the film can easily be predicted.

    The performances are the highest point of this film. Al Pacino is astounding as usual and adds life to an otherwise dull film. I found him to be perfectly cast as a washed up CIA recruitment officer. Colin Farrell is very good as well and the quality of his performance is consistent with his previous work. He is indeed a rising star.

    As much as I would like to give this film a negative rating, I am reluctant to do so because of the favorable performances contributed by both Pacino and Farrell.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] (out of four)
     
  7. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2000
    Messages:
    3,971
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I thought this was solidly entertaining, but doesn't have much substance to it to warrant another look.

    The film has some great assets in the form of the good casting, the best of which is Farrell. He brings some great deliveries in the face of the monolithic Pacino, who threatens to dominate scenes even when he is talking off camera. Pacino is just mesmerizing during some of his speeches that I'd have to say the film would have suffered greatly without his involvement.

    It is the greatest tragedy that they continually emphasize the "Nothing is what it seems" mantra, as I found myself observing all of the movie's reversals several scenes ahead of time. If they had been somewhat less obvious with that concept, I would have been more comfortable watching the film unfold on its own terms.

    The substance of the film is on the relationships between the characters, and in that it succeeds. They're good together and helps the credibility of the film. The caper portion of the film is very weak even at the most cursory glance, but that isn't the focus of the film. They quickly establish their McGuffin and get the story moving.

    All in all, not a bad film at all, and certainly not a waste of anyone's time. But, I wouldn't say it was as good as Spy Game, with which it shares several concepts.
     
  8. Jeff Kohn

    Jeff Kohn Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2001
    Messages:
    680
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The first half of the movie was pretty good, and the casting was decent. I was right about the trailer totally spoiling the end, but I don't think it matters much, because I'm pretty sure I could have seen that ending coming from a mile away even if I hadn't seen the trailer. Probably best to wait and rent the DVD, unless you're just really in the mood to go to the movies (like we were today).
     
  9. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1999
    Messages:
    38,777
    Likes Received:
    492
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Subtlety is not this film's strong point. If you've seen the trailer, you've seen way too much. Grr...I hate it when that happens. The film's 3rd act feels like they only spent an afternoon shooting it, and the resolution just doesn't have much impact, and it's certainly not as good as director Donaldson's "No Way Out" which was able to heighten a character's fear/paranoia very well and sustain it throughout the film. This film runs out of gas by the time the 3rd act starts.

    I give it a 2.75 stars or a grade of C+.
     

Share This Page