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Mapping the Filming Locations of The Recruit

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D.C. movies generally fall into one of four categories: the thriller, the annual destruction blockbuster, the historical/biographical film, and the occasional comedy. Most of these movies portray the "inner workings" of Washington. 2003's The Recruit, directed by Roger Donaldson slips neatly into this scheme. The film is a post 9/11 psychological thriller with the CIA as its focus. James Clayton (Colin Farrell), a young upstart with a troubled past is recruited into the CIA by CIA agent Walter Burke (Al Pacino). Burke mentors James, seducing him in Pacino-esque monologues where the recruits are the noble idols of virtue nobly engaged in the battle of right vs. wrong, and the mission of the CIA, pure. Burke informs Clayton that there is a mole in the CIA and his mission is surveillance and intelligence gathering on the suspect Layla Moore (Bridget Moynahan), James' fellow CIA recruit and the focus of his romantic interest.

In the typical D.C. movie the audience is treated to a cinematic slideshow of famous important buildings and vistas, but the city itself, D.C. always seems to be a mere afterthought in the production as if simply telling the director telling the audience the film takes place in Washington and shooting a scene in front of the Capitol makes it so. The Recruit is different. Instead of simply saying to the audience "Hey, this is D.C.," Roger Donaldson and Carol Flaisher (Washington, D.C. Location Manager) actually show us some of the city we call home. The Iwo Jima and Jefferson Memorials serve as meeting locations between Clayton and Burke. The memorials serve to emphasize overlapping themes of patriotism, paternalism and nationalism. Georgetown and Adams Morgan are not only given as references but actually show up onscreen. Union Station features as the location for an action sequence that tracks through the central interior, down and under the train platforms and finally out and onto the Red Line, to Shady Grove.

The Recruit is a D.C. movie with a familiar form. The naïve earnest ingénue (Farrell) enters the overwhelming world the big time espionage of only to find that his envisioning of this world is fatally flawed. At the film's outset, Burke tells the new recruits that they have "stepped through the looking glass, what you see what you hear, nothing is as it seems." But beware, Al Pacino is whispering in your ear.


· The Recruit [Wikipedia]
· Roger Donaldson [Wikipedia]
· Union Station, Washington, D.C. [Wikipedia]
· Iwo Jima Memorial [Wikipedia]
· Felix de Weldon [Wikipedia]
· Jefferson Memorial [Wikipedia]
· John Russell Pope [Wikipedia]
· John McShain [Wikipedia]
Greer Gladney

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1. US Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima)

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US Marine Memorial Cir
Arlington, VA 22209
(703) 289-2500
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Officially titled the Marine Corps War Memorial and sitting just outside the walls of Arlington National Cemetery, the Iwo Jima memorial is more private and less showy than the other memorial dotting the landscape in and around downtown D.C. While it’s featured commonly onscreen, in reality it’s a bit off the beaten path for the average tourist and more often seen by the bicyclists and runners traversing Memorial Bridge. It was sculpted by Felix de Weldon, and Austrian-born sculptor, who became a US citizen after the close of WWII. This image set in bronze is the most famous of the American effort in that war. Photo by Chris Watkins

2. Union Station

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50 Massachusetts Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 289-1908

Constructed in 1907, Union Station is an example of the City Beautiful movement, which sought to promote beauty for its own sake, and to create moral and civic principles among civilians in an urban environment. Designed by Daniel Burnham and constructed in the Beaux-Arts style, Union Station connects train to metro creating a seamless flow of people to and from all points. It's also a great background for the action sequence described above. Photo by Rob Ketcherside

3. Jefferson Memorial

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Located on the Tidal Basin (which actually was used in the past for swimming), the Jefferson Memorial sits atop landfill raised from the bottom of the Potomac River. Commissioned in 1935 and completed in 1943, The Jefferson Memorial was designed by John Russell Pope and built by John McShain, two Washington, D.C. powerhouses whose credits include The Kennedy Center, West Building of the National Gallery of Art, Washington International Airport, The National Archives, and The Pentagon. Photo by Victoria Pickering.

4. Layla Moore's House

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3146 O Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20007

Layla Moore (Monyahan) lives in the heart of Georgetown and just off Wisconsin Avenue, which is pretty unbelievable on a government paycheck.

1. US Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima)

US Marine Memorial Cir, Arlington, VA 22209

Officially titled the Marine Corps War Memorial and sitting just outside the walls of Arlington National Cemetery, the Iwo Jima memorial is more private and less showy than the other memorial dotting the landscape in and around downtown D.C. While it’s featured commonly onscreen, in reality it’s a bit off the beaten path for the average tourist and more often seen by the bicyclists and runners traversing Memorial Bridge. It was sculpted by Felix de Weldon, and Austrian-born sculptor, who became a US citizen after the close of WWII. This image set in bronze is the most famous of the American effort in that war. Photo by Chris Watkins

US Marine Memorial Cir
Arlington, VA 22209

2. Union Station

50 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002

Constructed in 1907, Union Station is an example of the City Beautiful movement, which sought to promote beauty for its own sake, and to create moral and civic principles among civilians in an urban environment. Designed by Daniel Burnham and constructed in the Beaux-Arts style, Union Station connects train to metro creating a seamless flow of people to and from all points. It's also a great background for the action sequence described above. Photo by Rob Ketcherside

50 Massachusetts Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002

3. Jefferson Memorial

Washington, DC 20024

Located on the Tidal Basin (which actually was used in the past for swimming), the Jefferson Memorial sits atop landfill raised from the bottom of the Potomac River. Commissioned in 1935 and completed in 1943, The Jefferson Memorial was designed by John Russell Pope and built by John McShain, two Washington, D.C. powerhouses whose credits include The Kennedy Center, West Building of the National Gallery of Art, Washington International Airport, The National Archives, and The Pentagon. Photo by Victoria Pickering.

4. Layla Moore's House

3146 O Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20007

Layla Moore (Monyahan) lives in the heart of Georgetown and just off Wisconsin Avenue, which is pretty unbelievable on a government paycheck.

3146 O Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20007