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:: The Recruit

It‘s that time again, kiddos. The CIA is recruiting and you're invited. Well, not really, but you will get to witness first hand the complex world of elite spy training and intelligence protection in the US with this latest release. Made with assistance from the actual Central Intelligence Agency, The Recruit serves as a type of expose into the modern day workings of this world renowned, yet still top secret, spy organisation. Determined to accurately portray the life and times of CIA agents, the film is for the most part set within the confines of a training facility affectionately named The Farm. A base used for the clandestine tuition of prospective CIA operations officers, the recruits are hand picked and sent off to learn the ins and outs of the ever elusive spy game and its 'world of secrets’.

Seemingly content and successful within a world of his own, IT genius James Clayton (Colin Farrell) is exactly what head recruiter Walter Burke (Al Pacino) wants in his new class of CIA rookies. Intrigued by the offer, Clayton is shipped off to The Farm for training under the watchful eye of Burke and his Agency counterparts. Fuelled by an insatiable desire to uncover the truth about the death of his father, Clayton's courage and determination are tested to their outermost limits by the enigmatic Burke who is more than aware of the young man's potential.

Confused and frustrated about the CIA and his place within it, Clayton starts falling for Layla (Bridget Moynahan)- another of the recruits- and the line between trust and doubt gets a whole lot foggier. Surrounded by secret agendas, Clayton tries to keep his head above water but soon discovers he is entrenched in a game of cat and mouse that even Itchy and Scratchy would find intense.

In a part riddled with mystery and conspiracy, eight-time Academy Award nominee Al Pacino is astounding as Walter Burke. Taking his time, Pacino with each scene builds upon and consolidates the essence of his character. Surreptitious and uncalculated, Pacino's portrayal of Burke denies him of being manipulative, instead painting him as essentially secretive and highly authoritative. For those who have followed this extraordinary actor through his cinematic career, The Recruit is yet another spellbinding performance well worth a look.

Unfortunately, beyond Al, the film exists as little more than a huge advertisement for the CIA. In an effort to clear their name in the aftermath of the S-11 attacks, it seems that the top secret intelligence agency is on a mission to promote its public image. Described within the film as ‘a group of white guys who fell asleep when we needed them most’, the CIA, through its association with the film is quite obviously aiming to project its warm and fuzzy ideals back into the community‘s consciousness. 'Heroism, patriotism, honour and integrity’. Why else would such an organisation - forever shrouded in secrecy - agree to open their doors for the entire world to see?

So, if you go to see it for its state-of-the-art spy gadgets or for it's bonafide screen performances or even if you just feel like having your faith in the CIA restored, you could probably do much worse than The Recruit. Ultimately quite suspenseful, this psychological thriller - at the very worst - will have you thanking your lucky stars that yours is not a life filled with double crossing, deceit and danger. Not that anyone would ever know about it..

Screening on general release.