(detailed information about this entry from Wikipedia)
The Recruit is a spy thriller movie starring Colin Farrell, Al Pacino and Bridget Moynahan. It was released in 2003. It follows the career of a recent MIT graduate recruited into the CIA.
James Clayton (Colin Farrell), a brilliant computer science college student, is recruited by CIA officer Walter Burke (Al Pacino) to serve his country. James quickly appears as one of the best of his group and falls in love with Layla (Bridget Moynahan), another CIA recruit. Filled with doubts about his role and the relation with his mentor, Clayton is asked by Burke to accomplish a risky mission: find a mole in the CIA headquarters in Langley. James now fully realizes that no one can be trusted anymore and that nothing is what it seems.
The film begins with several flashes of James’ internet homepage in which he constantly trawls for information about his father, who presumably had gone missing when Clayton was quite young. In the first scene James wakes up in his shared student apartment to the sounds of the telephone ringing. Upon answering it, somewhat reluctantly, he realizes that he had forgotten about, and is now late for, the MIT graduate recruitment careers fair. His delinquency is important because, of a group of graduating students, he is the one that possesses the disk that holds their project, a rather impressive program that turns computer terminals to which it is networked into its slave.
The program, called SPARTACUS, impresses a previously skeptical grad recruiter for Dell, and it appears that James' future is on track.
Later that night, when James is working his casual job as a bartender in the UniBar, he sees Walter Burke (Al Pacino), who he had previously noticed hanging around at the career fair. The two begin talking, during which time Burke intimates to Clayton that he is in fact a CIA recruiter. James, however, is not interested and Burke walks away, casually revealing to James a familiarity with his father. At this, James becomes intrigued and decides to attend the interview and selection process for the CIA's clandestine service.
Upon arriving at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Clayton takes part in numerous assessments including psychometric, numerical reasoning, psychological, psychoanalytical, aptitude, and a polygraph test. Particular attention is given to the apparent obscurity of many of the questions in the psychological examination, providing an insight into just how complicated the screening for intelligence officers in the CIA actually is. A specific example would be when the psychoanalyst asks James, "Quickly! Would you rather ride on a train, dance in the rain, or feel no pain?", to which Clayton responds that he'd rather dance in the rain but changes his answer to "feel no pain." During the testing he meets Layla Moore (Bridget Moynahan).
Having been apparently successful in the selection process, he and the other successful candidates, including Layla, are driven by bus to The Farm, the CIA training facility in Virginia, where Burke then briefs the candidates on the training regime and various polemic issues of espionage. Afterwards, Clayton attempts to befriend Burke in order to find out what he knows about his father's involvement in the CIA. Burke rebukes him, warning him that they're not friends, but instructor and pupil.
Clayton and the other candidates then begin their training in covert ops and intelligence gathering. After one such day, the recruits have a night off and several are sitting in their dorm room playing poker. At this, point Clayton and Zach (Gabriel Macht) face off revealing the competitive nature of their relationship. Burke interrupts and takes the recruits present (all males) to a nearby bar for "drinks." Their actual purpose, however, is to conduct a training exercise with one simple objective: "to reach the parking lot with an asset who intends to have sex with [them]"; in other words, to pick up a girl. James appears to do exceedingly well at first, until he spots Layla, alone at a table, apparently quite inebriated. He abandons the girl to whom he was talking and Layla tells him that she was "cut" from the program. James offers to call a cab for her as an act of sympathy, but Layla manages to draw him outside where, upon reaching the parking lot with her, James learns that she had a training mission of her own, to prevent him from completing his mission.
James gets his own back, however, when he embarrasses Layla during training in how to fool a polygraph machine. Here, he traps Layla into revealing her attraction to him. In doing this, he realizes that he has in fact hurt the one person with whom he had had romantic interests.
Throughout the various stages of the training, the instructors become increasingly impressed by James' natural ability in the "black arts" of espionage such as weapons, classroom exercises and his ingenuity and fast thinking when he manages to escape from a botched training drill by dramatically jumping through a glass window.
When he and Layla finally make up and Burke finds out about their romantic interest with one another, they are sent on a training exercise in counter-surveillance. During this exercise, James and Layla are kidnapped by men apparently from a foreign intelligence service. James is interrogated for several days in a dungeon-like cell and tortured. He is asked to give up the names of his instructors and holds out until one of his interrogators provides evidence that his defiance is contributing not only to his suffering, but also to that of Layla. He yells out Burke's name and suddenly the rear wall of the cell rises up revealing that Burke, Layla, and the other candidates sitting in the lecture theater had witnessed the entire event.
James is informed that he has been cut from the program and is put up in a motel in much the same fashion as was described to him by Layla when she had feigned the same fate. After proceeding to get thoroughly intoxicated, he makes a fool of himself by leaving a drunken message on the voicemail of the Dell recruiter, asking for a chance for employment.
To James' surprise, Walter Burke arrives in the morning to tell him that he feigned cutting James from the program in order to appoint him as a non-official cover operative. (An intelligence officer who is not afforded the protection of diplomatic status when committing espionage.) Burke tells James that he was paired with Layla in order to spy on her, as the CIA has evidence that she is a mole for a foreign intelligence service recruited to extract a top-secret new computer virus from the CIA. James reluctantly agrees and re-establishes contact with Layla, pretending to join the CIA as a low-level data-entry office worker and getting to know her. During this time, they become romantically involved and the tension is apparent when, after making love, Layla bugs James' coat with a listening device.
James eventually uncovers proof that Layla is removing the virus from CIA laboratories piece by piece using a USB Flash Drive concealed in the bottom of a thermal coffee mug. He follows her to uncover the identities of her contacts and winds up pursuing one contact through a train station. The identity of the contact is concealed by his hooded jumper until James shoots him in a scuffle. Layla's contact turns out to be Zach, who dies almost straight away. James escapes the scene and confronts Layla with evidence of her treachery, demanding an explanation. She explains that, in fact, she and Zach had been commissioned by the CIA to test the security protocols of the facility by attempting to remove a "fake" virus. By virtue of his familiarity with computer programs, however, James suspects differently and confronts Burke with these contradictions at an abandoned warehouse. Burke, at first, congratulates Clayton on passing his final test. The virus, he says, wasn't real, nor is Zach dead. When Burke invites Clayton to shoot him with a gun which Burke supplied and which he says is actually filled with blanks, a tense moment ensues and Burke knocks the gun away, shooting out a car window.
Burke chases Clayton through a warehouse, boasting that he organized the scheme in order to sell the virus. He also shatters James' hopes about his father by saying that the story that his father was a CIA agent was only a ruse to trick James into befriending Burke. Clayton agrees to give Burke the laptop containing the completed virus, and shows Burke the screen running his own software program Spartacus, apparently relaying Burke's entire confession back to CIA headquarters. Burke becomes incensed, chasing Clayton outside, where a SWAT team has assembled to track them down. Unbeknownst to Burke, however, Clayton's link to the CIA was a fake. The CIA had no knowledge of Burke's treachery and were there to arrest Clayton. Burke then proceeds to nail his own coffin by railing at his unjust treatment by the CIA. Upon discovering that he himself had foiled his own plan, he commits suicide-by-cop.
Upon being driven back to CIA headquarters at Langley for debriefing, one of his other instructors again suggests that James' father was in fact a CIA officer by saying, cryptically, that "[spying] is in your blood," thus telling him that he will indeed officially be in the CIA.
The movie was met with mixed opinions and received a rating at Rotten Tomatoes of 42%.
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