As a parent of older teens, I long for a movie with an intriguing storyline and good action that doesn't delve into excessive sex, violence or language issues. For a minute, I almost thought we had one.
The Recruit offers a well-scripted story that covers its tracks and employs just enough twists to keep audiences interested. There's action, suspense and ample tension. Then all too soon, the movie resorts to more than a few graphic depictions of violence including two brutal shootings. It also falls short of editing out unnecessary profanities and fails to steer clear of two brief, but passionate bedroom scenes.
In the film, Colin Farrell plays the part of James Clayton, a recent MIT alumnus who finished at the top of his class. The computer science grad also has a newly developed program that has big companies courting his brains. But it is while pouring drinks as a bartender that the sought after graduate gets an even more tempting offer.
Looking scruffy and nursing a martini at the bar, Walter Burke (Al Pacino) piques Clayton's curiosity. After a pithy exchange, the older man invites the young barman to apply for an exciting career with the CIA. However, the proposal doesn't go far until Burke hints at the fact he knew Clayton's deceased father. Eager for any information about his dad who died in Peru, Clayton finally agrees to give the secret service application process a try.
Bussed to the government's training farm, the new recruits are subjected to intense training exercises, long lectures and lurid test situations. Clayton's schooling pains are tempered only by his budding interest in Layla Moore (Bridget Moynahan), another trainee at the camp who shows the depth of her own deceptive abilities during a furtive assignment.
But his attraction is tested when Moore is suspected of being a mole on an information-gathering mission. Pitting his training against hers, Clayton infiltrates the intelligence agency's offices in an attempt to stop highly confidential data from being leaked.
The best test of a "twist" movie like this is if even after mulling over the "why did he's?" and "why didn't she's" for a day, it still holds up. The Recruit is a tough film to dislike because of its solid premise -- yet parents will need to decide if they want to enlist their older teens for this intensive training session.