Viewed on 25 Apr 03
"When in doubt, follow the money."   THE RECRUIT is yet another "CIA Betrayal" film from the Hollywood movie mills.   On first glance, one asks why Producers Barber/Birnbaum would take a handful of the best actors around, and spend millions of dollars just to make just one more CIA film identical to all those going before it.   On second thought, one begins to understand -- the formula is so popular, it's guaranteed to rake in enough to pay the banks back.   But what remains incomprehensible is, having gone to all that effort and expense, couldn't they have made the story a little less transparent?    Surely, there must be one screenwriter left in Hollywood that could have obfuscated the ending just a tad?    Conclusive proof that basking too long in one's own Klieg lights causes brain damage.
It would not only prove hard, it would be entirely impossible for a film critic to write a "spoiler review" on THE RECRUIT - as the film provides its own ongoing spoiler.   We hear perhaps thirty times that, "Nothing is what it seems."    All the while Director Donaldson busily makes sure that everyone 'seems' guilty of mole-like behavior except, of course, the one who is the mole.   There may have been a few retards in the audience, or a few non-English speaking Thais relying on the subtitles who didn't know half way into the film 'whodunit'.    It's no exaggeration to say we moviegoers knew without a shadow of a doubt who was guilty, even before we knew what the crime was.   This must be a new "first" for Hollywood.   Any film that telegraphs its punches this early into the story should be shredded and recycled into Frito's bags.
Pacino's performance is, again, brilliant, but unfortunately not enough to drag THE RECRUIT out of Hollywood's Sea of Mediocrity.   Other performances are also above reproach, but one wonders if Colin Farrell was properly cast - as James Clayton, superstar CIA recruit - the only way they could make him look older than 16 was to keep him in a 5-day beard.
Enduring Line or Phrase:  "They came for you..."
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