Sunday, February 09, 2003

The Recruit (IMDB) (Netflix)
Welcome to yet another movie version of the CIA, where "nothing is as it seems," as recruiter, instructor and spymaster Al Pacino never tires of telling newbie Colin Farrell. Pay attention, you'll be seeing many more of these flicks in the coming years. Farrell is a recent MIT grad; a computer geek, tops in his class and able to maintain a three-day stubble for weeks on end, but he's obsessed with finding out what really happened to his father, who died under mysterious, maybe clandestine, circumstances. Pacino exploits that baggage, and blurs the line between training and real world so much that Farrell doesn't know which way is up, or who's good or bad.

It's a competent thriller that keeps the audience guessing, and the characters are engaging enough (Bridget Moynahan is a wonderful distraction) to want to see what happens to them, but it's formulaic in the extreme, with blatant foreshadowing that results in underwhelming payoffs, and a couple critical plot points that fold under a moment's reflection. Passable entertainment for those who choose to be in an uncritical frame of mind.