In THE RECRUIT, Al Pacino stars as Burke, a veteran CIA trainer who recruits James Clayton, a computer whiz kid, but the CIA phrase, "nothing is what is seems," proves to be painfully true in this cat and mouse game of deception. An otherwise great spy yarn is marred by some implied sex and the modeling of some pagan attitudes, but the protagonist tries to act nobly throughout the story.
James Clayton (Colin Farrell) is on top of the world. He is a brilliant MIT student about to be snapped up by Dell Computers, until a mysterious “recruiter” named Walter Burke (Al Pacino) appears in the bar where he works and informs him that he is “a wicked judge of character” and that Clayton is CIA material. James initially snubs him until Burke mentions James’ father who disappeared in a plane crash 12 years earlier in Peru. James is now hooked by his desire to find out more about his missing father, and the lure of the mysterious.
Soon he is in “the farm,” the CIA’s training facility in Virginia. He learns that in the CIA, “nothing is what it seems” and “everything is a test.” Burke explains that the reason they are here is that they believe in right and wrong, good over evil. He also says there is never enough money and no glory since only their failures are seen and their successes are not.
The number one rule: “Never get caught.” The goal of all the trainees is to become the N.O.C., or “Non Official Cover” – the spy. Most trainees will have a diplomatic cover; only the N.O.C.’s are truly the ones in the field doing the dangerous work.
While learning the field craft of the CIA, James meets Layla (Bridget Moynahan), an attractive female recruit he finds, well, attractive. After several training missions, he is paired with Layla to practice trailing “the rabbit,” or following a target or suspect. While on this training mission he is attacked and beaten, a bag is thrown over his head, and he is tossed into a helicopter and flown to parts unknown. After being interrogated by some Eastern European-sounding goons, wanting information on the farm, he relents, at which point he learns it was just a test. Regrettably, he is flunked from the course, and put out. But, is he really? Soon, Burke appears at his door telling him he IS the new N.O.C. and that he did not flunk, but actually has a mission!
His mission is to infiltrate the CIA at Langley as an employee to gather information on . . . you got it, Layla who, according to Burke, is a mole on the inside. James is to get close to her and find out who is employing her to steal software from the CIA. Sounds easy?
THE RECRUIT is a good spy yarn. It has little profanity, little violence, and only two scenes implying fornication, which, for the genre, is light. By no means a Christian movie, the character of James Clayton is, nervertheless, a noble person who tries to do the right thing for his country in every case. He truly believes and is committed to his course.
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(B, Pa, P, L, VV, S, A, D, M) Moral worldview with moral protagonist with some pagan elements, such as spy recruits are assigned the task of getting women to have sexual relations with them, and some patriotic elements; violence includes CIA action violence and shooting; implied fornication and spy recruits are assigned the task of getting women to have sexual relations with them; no nudity; alcohol use; smoking; and, lying and deceit.