The Recruit

Year: 2002
Director: Roger Donaldson
Cast: Al Pacino, Colin Farrell, Bridget Moynahan
An experienced veteran and his protégé. Secret agent sleight of hand and trickery. The CIA. But Spy Game 2 it ain't.

Up and coming A-lister Colin Farrell is a computer genius James Clayton, sought by big corporate names for his cryptography skills, but an visitor to his bar (Al Pacino, in a pretty sleepy role that doesn't really put his abilities to the test) claims to be a recruiter for the CIA and assures Clayton he'll make a master spy out of him.

During his instruction at The Farm (the CIA's answer to an Al Qaeda training camp), Clayton is buried deep in multiple layers of deception. The confusion (which we share, privy to nothing) is a nice effective parable for the life of a master spy - trust no one, and remember that nothing is what it seems.

The simplistic ending lets things down somewhat, but the performances are all solid and the story well structured.

You'll be able to appreciate how much Hollywood increasingly outsources the cost of film production as you watch the ubiquitous product placement - particularly at the opening's computer show. And watch for the one moment of comedy - the road sign that identifies the George Bush Centre for Intelligence.

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