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The Recruit

The Recruit (2003)



Average Rating: 5.6/10
Reviews Counted: 165
Fresh: 71 | Rotten: 94

This polished thriller is engaging until it takes one twist too many into the predictable.


Average Rating: 5.5/10
Critic Reviews: 37
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 21

This polished thriller is engaging until it takes one twist too many into the predictable.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 109,724

My Rating

Movie Info

A brilliant young man is tapped to join the elite branch of American intelligence, only to discover how complex and dangerous the job can really be in this suspense-drama. James Clayton (Colin Farrell) recently completed his studies at MIT, where he graduated at the top of his class and is pondering his next move while he works as a bartender at an upscale nightspot. One evening, Clayton is approached by Walter Burke (Al Pacino), a recruiter for the Central Intelligence Agency, who describes

May 27, 2003


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All Critics (177) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (71) | Rotten (94) | DVD (33)

Here I suspected the ultimate villain almost from the very beginning -- and, if I wasn't fooled, I can't imagine anyone else will be, either.

February 12, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Recruit weighs in like a porous brick of recycled polypropylene.

February 5, 2003 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I liked all those set pieces where they set up these elaborate schemes, and you're not sure who the good guy is, and the bad guy.

February 3, 2003 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A conjurer's trick that delights for about an hour, then spirals into idiocy.

February 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A compelling, if throwaway, drama.

January 31, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's nothing but style and noise, threadbare of content, empty of ideas.

January 31, 2003 | Comment (1)
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Above-average thriller, but not very memorable.

December 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

I'm still hoping Pacino will dazzle with a great performance eventually...

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Watchable only for its star power and scarce caffeine kicks...awfully predictable. [Blu-Ray]

June 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

Many would believe Pacino could do no wrong but he has. The Recruit serves only to ignite a pilot light in the imagination of espionage lovers everywhere.

August 8, 2006 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

The film still makes a diverting entertainment in spite of its obviousness.

February 8, 2005 Full Review Source:

Pacino's puppet-stringing of his recruit is reminiscent of Peter O'Toole's manipulative character in 1980's 'The Stunt Man.'

October 15, 2004 Full Review
Kansas City Kansan

Director Roger Donaldson ... again shows a knack for creating intrigue and paranoia.

January 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)
Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)

Pacino doesn't upstage Farrell, but there's the sense he's daring him to keep up, and Farrell does. Their scenes together crackle.

January 4, 2004 Full Review

Interessante até o terceiro ato, quando se perde em 'reviravoltas' completamente previsíveis.

November 20, 2003
Cinema em Cena

A standard-issue spy game with all the layered complexity of Ludo.

October 19, 2003 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Chris Owens: You're onscreen for about half a minute of The Recruit, but that half a minute was the most enjoyable experience I had all evening.

October 1, 2003 Full Review Source:

...plays like one of those underwhelming straight-to-video flicks that usually stars either Eric Roberts or Dean Cain...

August 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews dependent on plot contrivances and so altogether preposterous, it seems an unfortunate waste of Pacino's and Farrell's acting talents.

June 20, 2003 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

. . .the film ends as a nonentity, arriving at a conclusion that is not satisfying and completely nonsensical because it preys on our stupidity rather than that of the characters.

June 9, 2003 Full Review Source:

A spy thriller with more twists in its plot than a sailor's knot.

May 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Though short on car chases and bombs bursting, director Donaldson keeps the tension crackling with tight close-ups, skilled editing and a screenplay that treats its fine actors with respect.

May 7, 2003 Full Review Source: Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
Spectrum (St. George, Utah)

The plot announces that it's going to gyp us around, not because it has other things to offer, but out of the hope that we will let it off the hook.

April 20, 2003

[Farrel], who seems to be trying to salvage his dignity, . . .gets points for keeping a straight face as Pacino constantly beetles in on him to deliver his lines.

April 5, 2003 Full Review Source: Killer Movie Reviews
Killer Movie Reviews

While you don't exactly need secret agent talents to work out the twists in The Recruit, it's pacy and fun.

April 1, 2003 Full Review Source: RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)

'What keeps The Recruit from being a waste is good chemistry between Al Pacino and Colin Farrell. It is by no means a great film but not a half bad way to sepnd a couple of hours.'

March 31, 2003 Full Review
Star Newspapers (Chicago, IL)

Audience Reviews for The Recruit

The Recruit is a film that showcases an interesting idea, but simply doesn't quite get there. It's a great shame because this film could have been something great, unfortunately it falls flat after 45 minutes in, and the plot seems to stop dead in its tracks. The recruit could have been a good film, but instead it just becomes a mediocre film that ends up being a waste of time. You'd think that a film with a strong lead in Al Pacino would be good, right? Well, this one disappoints and by the end of the film you feel that something is missing to really make this film a must see film. Unfortunately , this film is not interesting, and the plot goes nowhere after 45 minutes. The acting was decent, but overall everything seems out of place after a while. The Recruit is a pointless action film that just doesn't deliver. I thought the film could have been much better than this, and it was a total waste. The Recruit had a good idea for a plot, unfortunately the second act of the film just doesn't deliver, and that's what makes this film mediocre. The Recruit is one of those films that had a good idea, but due to a poor script, simply doesn't cut it, and ends up being a flawed film. If you're looking for a good action spy thriller, then don't watch this film. This film is quite disappointing and ends up being a dud by the time the credits role.
February 4, 2012
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

'The Recruit' is a nasty little thriller whose twists and turns keep you guessing until the end, even if its obvious who the real antagonist is. The plot is a bit contrived and the performances aren't spectacular, but the movie delivers cool, swift entertainment. It's not incredibly well-made, but much more enjoyable if you sit back and let the plot unfold before you.
July 13, 2011
Kase Vollebregt

Super Reviewer

Okay performances in a rote exercise of predictability.
April 9, 2011

Super Reviewer

Same old CIA crap. I was expecting a thriller, if not a suspense, but this was outright predictable (lacks even a single unexpected twist) with a rotten presentation. Al Pacino's star power didn't make it any better. He was mediocre (as was the movie).
February 7, 2011

Super Reviewer

    1. Jim Clayton: Nothing is what it seems.
    – Submitted by Sidharthan A (2 years ago)
View all quotes (1)

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