The Recruit

The Recruit (2003)

40 mistakes

(3 votes)

Continuity mistake: When Layla is hooked up to the lie detector that tracks the movement of her eye, she is looking around the room and blinking repeatedly, but the eye on the screen (which is supposed to be hers) never moves or blinks, even though the camera is still on her.

Continuity mistake: When Colin Farrell's truck is chasing the silver VW Bug, the Bug crashes through a gate, sending debris into the truck's windshield, causing a spider-web impact break. In all subsequent shots, the windshield is undamaged.

Factual error: In the movie Burke states that none of the computers has a floppy disk drive so that no information can be copied and smuggled out, but Leila uses a USB device. With all their technology and computer scientists, the CIA, or anyone who is semi-computer knowledgeable should know that information can be copied through the USB port and they would have been secured accordingly.

Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: A good number of mice and keyboards connect to the computers through the USB ports. If they took out all but two ports, and left those for the mouse and keyboard, it could be possible. If Leila pulled out the keyboard plug she could put in the USB device and copy the files. Heck, she could have even opened the computer up herself and installed a hidden USB drive (smuggling in the tools with her coffee mug of course). She would just have to be sneaky about it, and that's nothing unusual for these characters.

Not only is the original "Corrected entry" valid, it's understated. Burke actually said "Langley's computers don't have disk drives" - not just no floppy drive. In a high-security environment, such a system would be configured so that no USB port could communicate with an external drive; even more likely, the workstations would be dumb terminals - just keyboard, mouse, and monitor; and that's exactly what they appear to be in Layla's office area. So, showing a USB port built into Layla's keyboard and communicating with a USB drive belies a major part of Burke's story, and if Layla were able to do that, the system would immediately "see" it. It's the ersatz "Correction" that's mistaken, since it describes only ordinary commercial computer systems.

Continuity mistake: After Clayton says Burke's name to his 'captors' he is shown holding a pair of pants, in the next shot he is not holding them, then the next shot he is again.

Other mistake: Towards the end of the movie, Clayton has two wounds visible on his face. These wounds keep changing length and shape throughout the scene.

Visible crew/equipment: When James gets into Layla's car after forcing it off the road, the boom mic can be seen in the rear side window of Layla's Volkswagen Beetle.

Revealing mistake: In the beginning of the movie when Al Pacino is supposed to be browsing the web you get a quick look at the address bar. It shows the URL to a local .html file instead of a website.

Continuity mistake: When the boys are playing cards, Burke comes in and you can see that there are a bunch of chips and the deck of cards on the table. The camera angle changes and so do the chips. The cards suddenly jump into Clayton's hands as well. (00:29:55)

Joel Gordon

Continuity mistake: The cut on Burke's forehead (which he gets at the end by putting his head through the glass door) changes throughout the final scene from some blood to a lot of blood about 5 times.


Continuity mistake: In the shooting range scene at the Farm, the Recruit to Layla's left fires all of his rounds and his slide locks back when the camera is close up on Layla. In the next shot, the same recruit fires one last shot.

Revealing mistake: In one scene it shows them throwing a Molotov Cocktail at some rocks. The rocks burst into flame before the bottle gets there and busts open. (00:22:20)

Joel Gordon

Continuity mistake: In the shooting range scene, one of Colin Farrell's shots hits the line of the center ring of his targets. When he pulls his target in, turns to Layla and says "Nintendo", you can see that the rounds are in different places.

Plot hole: If Zack is the NOC as Layla says, why is she reporting to him (passing him notes at Union Station) rather than someone in her chain of command? The NOC is supposed to be "out there alone" according to Burke, not mixed up in the command structure.

Joel Gordon

Factual error: Burke says Clayton graduated "top of your class at MIT, majored in nonlinear cryptography..." but MIT has no such major. In fact, there's no such field.

Continuity mistake: When Layla's VW has hit the tree, James's truck is pulled up alongside her, facing forwards. When James drives off, his truck is facing the other way but there was not enough time for him to turn around, or any indication that he did turn around (i.e. no sound of a vehicle making a three point turn).

Continuity mistake: When James is standing at the wall of the interrogation chamber holding Layla's trousers in his right hand, the trousers are there in one shot, gone the next and back in the next.

Continuity mistake: When Clayton is being recruited Burke grabs a newspaper to circle CIA. The previous scene had only the front page, but when he circles CIA there is a part of the torn paper on the bar as well. (00:06:40)

Joel Gordon

Factual error: Early in the movie, Al Pacino advises the recruits that they aren't there for the money, since he, as a GS15 only makes $75,000 a year. A GS15 (step 1) in Washington DC makes approximately $96,000.

Factual error: In the middle of the film, as Farrel and Pacino talk in the park, Pacino tells Farrel about a new computer virus that Langley's created. He says it uses existing wires to propagate itself and can spread through, say, an electrical wall outlet. Computer viruses are programs that copy themselves (spread) when executed - this requires specific operating systems and CPUs. Anybody even remotely knowledgeable about computers knows this. The thought that a computer virus could somehow spread through the electrical grid or infect a toaster is ridiculous, since the only part of a computer actually connected to the electrical net is the PSU, and no data goes from it to the CPU.

Factual error: After Clayton kills the man in the subway, he calls Walter using a cell phone and proceeds to tell him what just happened. Two trained CIA agents wouldn't use unsecure lines to relay that sort of information, especially when they are meeting soon.

James Clayton: All I know about the CIA is that they're a bunch of fat, old white guys who fell asleep when we needed them most.

More quotes from The Recruit

Trivia: Lately, Hollywood is pairing young actors with older, character-actors the younger ones are repeatedly compared with (because of their looks or their acting styles): check this movie (Farrell-Pacino), Spy Games (Pitt-Redford), The Patriot (Ledger-Gibson) and The Score (Norton-DeNiro, Norton-Brando).

More trivia for The Recruit

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.