James Clayton - computer genius by day, barman by night - is one of the smartest graduating seniors in the U.S. He's just the person that Walter Burke wants working for the CIA. Clayton regards the CIA's mission as an intriguing alternative to an ordinary life, but before he becomes an Ops Officer, Clayton has to survive 'The Farm', where the veteran Burke teaches him the ropes and rules of the game. Clayton quickly rises through the ranks and falls for Layla, one of his fellow recruits. But just when Clayton starts to question his role, Burke taps him for a special assignment to root out a mole. Will Clayton find an ally to trust before its too late?
"Nothing is as it seems" in The Recruit
, a guessing-game thriller that employs plot twists and conflicting loyalties as its primary raison d'etre. Surrounded by potential deception, a newly recruited CIA officer (Colin Farrell) must determine if his manipulative instructor (Al Pacino) is being honest when he identifies Farrell's fellow recruit and love interest (Bridget Moynihan) as an enemy "mole" assigned to steal a dangerous computer virus from CIA headquarters. While claiming to offer an insider's look at CIA training methods, this engrossing yet ultimately predictable plot is pure Hollywood fantasy; any resemblance to reality is purely coincidental, leaving the perpetually unshaven and scruffily coiffed Farrell to fend for himself in Pacino's cynical arena while tracing his familial roots in the spy game. Wearing its cleverness on its sleeve, The Recruit
is an adequately elaborate puzzle of perceptions. "Everything is a test", as Farrell soon realises, and attentive viewers will enjoy piecing it all together.--Jeff Shannon