The Recruit

Metascore
56

Mixed or average reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36

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Critic Reviews

  1. 60
    Just the latest forgettable thriller that might have been enjoyable if only its conclusion lived up to its windup.
  2. 60
    But by the end the audience, along with Clayton, has been jerked around so many times that it's almost too exhausting...By then, it's almost impossible to care.
  3. No matter how seriously everyone works to make the CIA impossibly sexy, the illusion that these pencil pushers are incarnations of Bond, James Bond, is difficult to sustain.
  4. Like Christopher Walken or Marlon Brando, Mr. Pacino frequently uses his gifts to make mediocre movies more interesting. Everything else in The Recruit may be tiresomely predictable, but he, at least, is not.
  5. 60
    It milks the characters' father-son relationship for drama without making the fairly obvious connection to the agency's paternalistic view of the world.
  6. Reviewed by: Kevin Carr
    60
    There are glimpses of a real actor struggling to get out of Pacino, although they are rare. It’s as if Pacino is dying to act, but he’s either too old or director Roger Donaldson just isn’t allowing him to do it.
  7. Spare, sleek and coolly entertaining, even if there's less to this game of true lies than meets the eye.
  8. It's just never as gripping as it needs to be.
  9. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    50
    A less-than-middling melodrama whose subject matter and talent never click as much as its credits portend.
  10. New York Magazine (Vulture)
    Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    50
    For most of this movie, things are exactly what they seem--mediocre.
  11. 50
    Donaldson and his battery of screenwriters aim for nothing more than a coolly efficient thrill machine, but the mechanics break down in the end, foiled by a "whodunit" twist that's telegraphed early in the first reel. Careening forward without any real purpose, the film simply flies off the rails.
  12. The first half packs some clever surprises, but eventually you'll wish you'd signed up with another movie.
  13. It's nothing but style and noise, threadbare of content, empty of ideas. Is it anything? Not really.
  14. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    50
    The Recruit is like vaudeville night at Bellevue.
  15. The pleasure of watching two alpha males -– Al Pacino and Colin Farrell -– circling each other mano a mano substantially beefs up this otherwise routine spy thriller.
  16. 50
    For the most part it's a completely ordinary, completely familiar, professionally executed film. Nothing truly awful, but nothing unexpected, either.
  17. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    40
    Al Pacino is his own venue as yet another flamboyant, self-ironic, self-dramatizing, self-parodying, self-selfing quasi-Mephistopheles. His performance isn't very good, but it's big.
  18. Cliché-density aside, Roger Donaldson's perfectly rote movie is childishly naive about the reality of the CIA as it stands in the official record and in the public mindset.
  19. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: David Denby
    40
    The Recruit is quick and tense, and some of it is fun, but I didn't believe a single thing in it, and the over-all effect of the movie is to make one depressed that the Christmas "art" season is over. [27 January 2003, p. 94]
User Score
5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 47 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 12
  2. Negative: 4 out of 12
  1. May 3, 2016
    0
    This movie is just completely stupid, the recruit is just obsessed throughout the whole movie with this girl and making a fool out of himself,This movie is just completely stupid, the recruit is just obsessed throughout the whole movie with this girl and making a fool out of himself, I was hoping he would get shot. Full Review »
  2. Nov 28, 2015
    6
    This action film is quite good, a bit slow at certain parts, but it is interesting to find out what's really going on. The ending has a goodThis action film is quite good, a bit slow at certain parts, but it is interesting to find out what's really going on. The ending has a good enough twist. Full Review »
  3. Jan 3, 2015
    6
    Who is a friend, a who is a foe? What is the truth, and what a lie? Whom can you trust, and is any of this truly real? Colin Farrell and AlWho is a friend, a who is a foe? What is the truth, and what a lie? Whom can you trust, and is any of this truly real? Colin Farrell and Al Pacino make a perfect duo with an unstable balance between each other, even if they are a teacher and a student of sorts. And when things get tricky, can you really suspect the one who is supposed to be your guiding line? Oh the places where blind trust can lead you... Full Review »