The Recruit (2003) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Recruit (2003)

The Recruit (2003)

The Recruit



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

The Recruit Trailers & Photos

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 himself as "a scary judge of talent" and believes Clayton is just the sort of man the CIA is looking for. Clayton, who has little interest in an ordinary nine-to-five career and suspects his father (whom Burke claims to have known) worked for the Agency, accepts the offer and is soon sent to the CIA's secret training camp. It soon becomes obvious that Burke's intuition has not failed him; Clayton is smart, fast on his feet, a crack shot, and possesses a very agile mind. In training, Clayton notices a few things, most notably one of his fellow students, Layla (Bridget Moynahan), a beautiful woman whose skills equal his own. Clayton becomes quite infatuated with Layla, and after a fashion the attraction appears to be mutual, but Clayton has to keep in mind Burke's dictum that "nothing is as it seems," especially when Clayton is given a special assignment -- find the mole within the Agency's training program who is actually feeding information to America's enemies.more
Rating: PG-13 (for violence, sexuality and language)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Kurt Wimmer, Mitch Glazer, Roger Towne
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 27, 2003
Box Office: $52.7M
Touchstone Pictures - Official Site


Al Pacino
as Walter Burke
Colin Farrell
as James Clayton
Bridget Moynahan
as Layla Moore
Karl Pruner
as Dennis Slayne
Ron Lea
as Dell Rep
Domenico Fiore
as Instructor 1
Veronica Hurnick
as Polygraph Interrogat...
Eugene Lipinski
as Husky Man
Chris Owens
as Art Wallis
Veronika Hurnik
as Polygraph Interrogat...
Dom Fiore
as Instructor No. 1
Jeanie Calleja
as Co-Ed No. 1
Jessica Greco
as Brunette at Blue Rid...
Steve Lucescu
as Instructor No. 2
Janet Bailey
as Young Instructor
Elisa Moolecherry
as Lisa Sahadi
Sheldon Davis
as Security Officer No....
Oscar Hsu
as Psychiatrist No. 1
Arlene Mazerolle
as Psychiatrist No. 2
Brian Rhodes
as Psychiatrist No. 3
Steve Behal
as Exam Proctor
Jane Moffat
as Polygraph Technician
Bart Bedford
as Co-Worker
Tony Craig
as Transit Cop
David Boyce
as New Security Guard
Mark Robert Ellis
as Test Instructor
Neil Crone
as Farm Instructor No. ...
Ray Paisley
as Farm Instructor No. ...
Scott McCord
as Young Instructor No....
Shaun Verreault
as Band Member No. 1
Safwan Javed
as Band Member No. 2
Earl Pereira
as Band Member No. 3
Conrad Bergschneider
as Firing Range Instruc...
John Shafer
as Langley Gate Guard
Steven Lee Wright
as Running Instructor
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Recruit

Critic Reviews for The Recruit

All Critics (177) | Top Critics (40)

Above-average thriller, but not very memorable.

Full Review… | December 29, 2010
Common Sense Media

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

Full Review… | April 29, 2009
Cinema Crazed

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

Full Review… | June 1, 2008
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.

Full Review… | August 8, 2006
Cinema Sight

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

Full Review… | February 8, 2005

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

Full Review… | October 15, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

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.

Alex roy

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.

Kase Vollebregt
Kase Vollebregt

Super Reviewer


Okay performances in a rote exercise of predictability.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

The Recruit Quotes

– Submitted by Sidharthan A (3 years ago)

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