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The recruit (The farm)

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Trust. Betrayal. Deception. In the CIA nothing is what it seems.

In an era when the country's first line of defence, human intelligence, is more important than ever, comes an explosive thriller that gives us an insiders view into the CIA's secret training ground: The Farm. James Clayton (Colin Farrell) might not have the attitude of a typical recruit, but he is one of the smartest graduating seniors in the country - and he's just the person that Walter Burke (Al Pacino) wants in the Agency. James regards the CIA's mission as an intriguing alternative to an ordinary life, but before he becomes an Ops Officer, James has to survive The Farm, where the veteran Burke teaches him the ropes and the rules of the game.

James quickly rises through the ranks and falls for Layla (Bridget Moynahan), one of his fellow recruits. But just when James starts to question his role and decides to "wash out", Burke taps him for a special assignment to root out a mole. as the suspense builds towards a gripping climax, it soon becomes clear that at The Farm, the CIA's old maxims are true: "Trust no one" and "Nothing is as it seems".

Persons of interest

  • Colin Farrell .... James Clayton
  • Al Pacino .... Walter Burke
  • Bridget Moynahan .... Layla
  • Gabriel Macht .... Zack
  • Mike Realba .... Ronnie
  • Karl Pruner .... Dennis Slayne
  • Ron Lea .... Bill Rudolph
  • Mitch Glazer .... Screenwriter
  • Kurt Wimmer .... Screenwriter
  • Roger Donaldson .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

If you've seen the trailer you already know what happens: the angry, older guy who's been put out to stud becomes a double agent and tricks the young, handsome hero into doing his dirty work. The recruit is one of those instances where the trailer spoils the whole film for you by showing the most important part of the plot, the complication: the hero and heroine are both being deceived ("You're the double agent!" "No, you're the double agent!").

This is how a traditional story goes:

  1. Introduction;
  2. Complication (twist);
  3. Climax;
  4. Dénouement.
This is how The recruit goes:
  1. It's a spy film: you knew that;
  2. Double agents: thanks to the trailer you knew that, too;
  3. Goody fights baddy: having seen any Hollywood movie will tell you that;
  4. Hollywood ending: as you would expect.
The only part of The recruit that you couldn't predict from the outset was the twist so I say again, putting the twist in the trailer just ruins it.

But, if you haven't seen the trailer (and if you didn't read the preceding paragraphs), when you see The recruit you'll be met with a good, old-fashioned spy flick along the lines of Spy game, only with brunets rather than blonds. Lots of toys, lots of running around, lots of shooting, lots of hitting, a little bit of sex. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

PS: You have to be quick to catch it but The recruit has one of the funniest (possibly inadvertant) jokes in filmmaking. Watch closely for the road sign that comes up after Layla pours the coffee into her cup, or click Here if you can't wait that long.

Security censorship classification

M (Medium level violence, low level coarse language)

Surveillance time

115 minutes (1:55 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 27 February 2003
DVD rental: 30 July 2003
VHS rental: 30 July 2003

Cinema surveillance images

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The sign says "George Bush Center for Intelligence".

FYI: George Bush Senior, former President of the USA, was also once head of the CIA.

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