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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones (which includes at-home teens) through you, their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

The Recruit (2003), PG-13
Analysis Date: January 31, 2003
CAP Score: 38
CAP Influence Density: 1.18

MinMax: -100

The Recruit (2003) CAP Mini-thermometers

ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Site Map (Table of Contents). Further, if you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.

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If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

THE RECRUIT (PG-13) -- "Nothing is ever as it seems."

Production: Spyglass Entertainment
Distribution: Touchstone Pictures
Director(s): Roger Donaldson
Producer(s):, Jeff Apple, Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Jonathan Glickman, Ric Kidney, Megan Wolpert
Written by/Screenplay: Written by: Roger Towne, Kurt Wimmer, Mitch Glazer
Cinematography/Camera: Stuart Dryburgh
Music: Klaus Badelt, Ramin Djawadi
Film Editing: David Rosenbloom
Casting: Robin D. Cook, Marcia Ross
Production Design: Andrew McAlpine
Art Direction: Dennis Davenport, Eric Hunsaker
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6, Granbury, TX

Colin Farrel plays James Douglas Clayton, an MIT whiz kid with a talent for computer code. He developed "Spartacus" which was able to override any computer displayed information with counterfeit information. Clayton demonstrated his new software by displaying his face on every screen in a large computer show. After a demonstration of replacing Sony's display at the computer show with a display of Dell's logo, Dell tried to recruit Clayton. And so did Walter Burke (Al Pacino) of the CIA.

Burke is the senior instructor for The Farm, CIA's training camp. Burke is a "scary judge of talent." Clayton appears to Burke to be prime material for a NOC, a nonofficial cover operative. An NOC is one who stands out from the rest of the trainees and gets the really secret assignments. Clayton is chosen by Burke in part because of Clayton's father, Edward was a CIA operative and spying is in Clayton's blood. Clayton's dad died in a plane crash over Peru in 1990 when Clayton was a wee lad. Burke knew Clayton's father since Edward was with the CIA. That was part of the lure of Clayton joining the CIA. Maybe through the CIA Clayton could find out more about his dad and his dad's death.

Among the recruits is Layla Moore (Bridgette Moynahan). She is important to the plot for more than one reason. One of the reasons is that she is important to Clayton ... as a sexual conquest and a bed partner. Yes, there is intercourse and stripping for it in this PG-13. Twice. No nudity, but nothing is left to the imagination. Er, yes, there is nudity but somewhat obscured through a shower curtain. There is no doubt, though, that the individual behind the shower curtain is an actress rather than an actor. And nudity is seen which is revealed from the rear view as one drops her shower robe from a couple inches below the belt line up. [Mark 7:20 - 23, 1 Cor. 6:18 - 20]

Layla is suspected by Burke as being a double agent who is preparing a super computer virus that can infect every computer on the planet which uses an electrical outlet. National defense would be crippled. Burke hired her just to investigate her. But Burke knows that Clayton possesses the skills to counter the virus. Clayton is assigned to get the information needed to stop her. But there are so many twists and turns to the plot that "Nothing is ever as it seems."

Beware, mom/dad, that there are also many issues of programming that used to be typically found in R-rated features. Indeed, this PG-13 is truly an "R-13." Abduction by brutal force. Much gunfire to kill. Graphic gunfire deaths (defensive killings). The use of firearms to control. Uncountable lies. Intercourse with no gender-specific parts seen. Twice. And there is smoking and drunkenness.

"Yeah, but smoking and drunkenness are part of everyday life!" Why do you think they are? I will share with you the expertise of the American College of Physicians about the influence of drinking and smoking in and as entertainment.

A recent study revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking and smoking in entertainment leads to an undeniable increase in alcohol and tobacco abuse. The finding entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted from viewing R-rated movies. The report further states the prevalence of having tried smoking without parental knowledge was 35% for those with no restrictions on viewing R-rated movies, 12% for those with partial restrictions, and two percent for those with complete restrictions. The prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was 46% for those with no restrictions, 16% for those with partial restrictions and four percent for those with complete restrictions. Rather revealing of the influences of the entertainment industry wouldn't you say? Whether the movie is rated R or not, the focus is the influence of drinking and smoking in and as entertainment. While this finding speaks volumes about the influence of popular entertainment, it also speaks to parental control, doesn't it, mom/dad?

Further, Harvard educated child developmental expert Dr. Karen Nelson, Developmental Psychologist and Professor of Psychology agrees with me that entertainment violence can plant aberrant behavioral templates. The American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry have agreed that violence in movies can and does beget aggression in youth. And God says so [1 Co. 15:33]. Professor Nelson also agrees with me also that other negative behavioral expressions such as arrogance, rebellion, hatred in entertainment can plant behavioral templates as well. If these behavioral expressions can implant behavioral templates, what is there to say that sexual immorality in and as entertainment does not do the same?

Dr. Nelson agrees with me that any behavioral expression can be shaped by observation of behavior in entertainment, good or bad, and that aberrant behavior or change in attitude or coping skills caused or catalyzed by the influence of entertainment may manifest as an entirely different expression than that observed: that an implanted behavioral template can be and often is indelible and does not have to manifest as the same behavior by which it was planted; that the manifestation may surface as something entirely different than the observed behavior which implanted it. Want more? Professional counselor Doctor Larry Gilliam and Dr. Nelson agree with me that it would be unusual for even a 16 year old to be able to fully comprehend the consequences of his/her actions or to be able to fully separate fantasy from reality: that such capabilities do not typically plateau until the early 20s. How much more evidence of the influence of such presences in and as entertainment do we need? Think of the issue this way. Did you ever get misty-eyed at anything you saw/heard in the movies? Have you ever gotten mad or happy or sad or "energized" at anything you saw and heard on the big screen -- ever?

Regarding the sexual programming in such entertainment as The Recruit, though it may not be literal or "hard-core pornography", such promiscuity in and as entertainment should be viewed as "lite pornography" or "teen pornography" since the end result of emboldened experimentation may be the same. In a study reported to the 1986 Attorney General's Commission on Pornography by Dr. Jennings Bryant(a), 600 American males and females of high school age and above were interviewed about their "out in real life involvement with pornography." He found that 91% of the males and 82% of the females admitted having been exposed to X-rated, hard-core pornography. Two-thirds of the males and 40% of the females reported wanting to try out some of the behaviors they had witnessed. And, among high school students, 31% of males and 18% of the females admitted doing some of the things sexually they had seen in the pornography within a few days after exposure. This clearly suggests the modeling-effect or imitative-learning effect, as well as "triggering effect," that even non-violent pornography has on human sexual behavior in some individuals. Do you want your 13 year olds modeled by such exposure? That we as a people have been desensitized to it by so much of it and progressively invasive and graphic does not weaken its power of influence or even addiction.

The 1986 Attorney General Commission on Pornography defined pornography as material that is "predominantly sexually explicit and intended primarily for the purpose of sexual arousal." Hard-core pornography "is sexually explicit in the extreme, and devoid of any other apparent content or purpose." For those moments the child (which includes at-home teens) views onscreen promiscuity, it is "predominantly sexually explicit and intended primarily for the purpose of sexual arousal" to be sure.

In addition to the issues of sexual immorality, drinking/drunkenness [Luke 1:15, Prov. 20:1] and smoking [1 Cor. 6:20], The Recruit contains multiple uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary [Col. 3:8], God's name in vain both with and without the four letter expletive [Deut. 5:11], and a single use of the most foul of the foul words normally associated with R-rated films

Please be sure to read the listing of issues in the Findings/Scoring section.

(a) Attorney General's Commission on Pornography. Final Report Volumes 1,2. Washington, DC: GPO, July 1986


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Mark 7:20 - 23 He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.'"
  • 1 Cor. 6:18 - 20 Flee fornication [sexual immorality]. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. [Fleeing fornication does not mean only avoiding intercourse outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage. It includes anything that can lead up to it or entice it, including all visual and verbal stimulations.]
  • Luke 1:15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. [Speaking is the angel that appeared to Zechariah, promising Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth a son - John the Baptist, but it also says that not drinking aloholic beverages at all will find favor in the eyes of the Lord. Though it is not a sin to drink, God knows of our tendency to excess. And the "strong drink" of Jesus' day was less potent than our dry wine. What does that say about our liquor of up to 75% alcohol?]
  • Prov. 20:1 Wine [beer, mixed wine] is a mocker[to make scorn, make mouths at, talk arrogantly], strong drink [pure wine in the Bible days] is raging [cause to be disquieted, be in an uproar]: and whosoever is deceived thereby [caused to go astray by it, believes otherwise] is not wise. [If alcoholic beverages in and as entertainment were not a problem for our young, why would there be and why has there been such a push to get and keep booze commercials off TV?]
  • 1 Cor. 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. [This verse applies as well as abuse of the body by tobacco as well as drinking in excess and sexual immorality.]
  • Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain [shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity]: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or thoughtful discussion and such is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it]. [I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change [warp, distort, falsely represent] the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.


    The Recruit (2003) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • abduction by force, two people
  • beatings, repeatedly
  • brutality
  • torture (unseen but heard)
  • training violence
  • firearm threat, repeatedly
  • gunfire defensive deaths, one exceptionally graphic
  • reckless driving
  • firearms to control, repeatedly
  • gunfire to kill, repeatedly
  • vehicular violence
  • impalement injury
  • attempted murder, repeatedly
  • gunfire to force performance

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 18 use of the three.four letter word vocabulary
  • one use of the most foul of the foul words
  • uncountable lies
  • massive tattoos
  • toilet humor

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • adults in underwear, repeatedly
  • sex talk, repeatedly
  • orders to make sexual conquests
  • ghosting of female anatomy through clothing
  • sexual extortion
  • man in tub
  • nudity through shower curtain
  • dropping clothes to nudity (no gender-specifics seen)
  • gaping mouth kissing, repeatedly
  • stripping for sex
  • intercourse, both unseen and seen but with no nudity
  • nudity hidden by convenience objects and camera viewfield limits aftermath of intercourse
  • dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking
  • drinking
  • drunkenness, repeatedly
  • bar
  • booze

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • four uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and 8 without

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted (all deaths were defensive or consequential)

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    NOTE: While the Summary/Commentary section of these reports is precisely that -- a summary in commentary format which can be and sometimes is subjective, the actual CAP Analysis Model (the Findings/Scoring section) makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse, for manufacture of justification for, or camouflaging of ignominious content or aberrant behavior or imagery with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme/plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example of behavior or thought from the sinful display or of the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. We make no attempt to quantify the "artistic" or "entertainment" value of a movie -- whether a movie has any positive value or "entertainment" value is up to mom/dad. The CAP analysis model is the only known set of tools available to parents and grandparents which give *them* the control they need, bypassing the opinion-based assessment of movies by others and defeating the deceit of those who would say anything to convince their parents otherwise. The model is completely objective to His Word. Our investigation standards are founded in the teachings and expectations of Jesus Christ. If a sinful behavior is portrayed, it is called sinful whether Hollywood tries to make it otherwise. That the sinful behavior is "justified" by some manufactured conditions does not soften nor erase the price of sin. Whether there is application of fantasy "justification" or "redemption" is up to mom/dad.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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