Ever since story telling began, there’s been tales and tales about moles within government agencies. There’s always some shifty so and so trying to do wrong by their fellow country men for “the greater good.” Quite frankly, if every films depiction of government agencies is anywhere near correct I genuinely struggle to see how anyone employed by the CIA / Feebs gets any work done due to devoting all of their time to spying on the cubicle next door.
The Recruit is yet another tale of espionage starring Colin Farrell, a man recruited by CIA man Al Pacino to join the forces in charge of protecting the good ol’ US of A. Farrell, a man tortured by the disappearance of his father years previous, is a gifted MIT student, hand picked as a perfect candidate for the agency. From there we see his training time at The Farm where we’re told at every opportunity that nothing is as it seems.
The film plays a lot like Full Metal Jacket in the sense that it feels like two different films rolled into one.The first half of the film centres squarely on the training processes and the relationships forged between the potential recruits and their handlers. And the second half focuses mainly on the field and operational side of things after “graduation” so to speak.
As you’d expect from a spy thriller there’s plenty of twists and turns along the way, as the script constantly likes to keep reminding us. I’m unsure whether it was a stylistic ploy to keep the audience guessing about the outcome of the film but all it really managed to do was ensure that the big reveal wasn’t actually that surprising at all. With spy thrillers you know what you’re getting and the need to keep constantly reassuring the audience that nothing is what it seems was quite unnecessary.
The Recruit does have its moments with some great cat and mouse sequences and other espionage-y goings on between the assorted players. Chases through train stations are quite regular occurrences in these sort of films but in this it still managed to entertain and keep the heart rate at a slightly high level. But the constant need to try and appear intelligent while not being so was disappointing and ultimately turned the last 20 minutes into nothing more than a bit of a damp squib. Still, I’ve seen far worse in my time and will no doubt see far worse in the future. A fairly pedestrian effort that sadly runs out of steam long before the end and both Farrell and Pacino are capable of far better.