out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
The Manchurian Candidate
|*Also starring: ||Liev Schreiber, Kimberly Elise, Jon Voight, Vera Farmiga, David Keeley, Jeffrey Wright, Sakina Jaffrey, Simon McBurney, Paul Lazar, Alyson Renaldo, Adam Lefevre, Robyn Hitchcock, Pablo Schreiber||
Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4
Back in 1962, when John Frankenheimer originally made this thriller, it
was about a group of captive US soldiers who were brainwashed during the Korean
War. In this timely reinvention, Jonathan Demme focuses on a group of soldiers
in Kuwait, 1991, just before Desert Storm.
As the story begins, a dedicated US Army major, Ben Marco (Denzel
Washington), has been having nightmares and bizarre hallucinations that he
suspects are related to his service in the Gulf War, where he and his squad
were rescued, single-handedly, by a fellow soldier, Raymond Shaw (Liev
Schreiber). Now a Congressman, the enigmatic Shaw won the Medal of Honor for
his heroics and, thanks to his powerful mother, Senator Eleanor Shaw (Meryl
Streep), and the financial backing of a ruthless geopolitical corporation,
Manchurian Global, he could be the next Vice-President of the United States. At
least, until Marco surfaces with preposterous conspiracy theories involving
sinister surgical implants and a fugitive geneticist. Far-fetched? Maybe not.
Screenwriters Daniel Pyne and Dean Gerogaris have updated George
Axelrod's script, based on Richard Condon's novel, to encompass Gulf War
syndrome and contemporary paranoia. In the original, the diabolical mother
(Angela Lansbury) was the wife of a United States Senator; today, she's a
controversial Senator herself. Of course, if you remember the plot, much of the
suspense is gone. On the other hand, if you don't know what's going to happen,
this a terrifying cautionary tale in which Meryl Streep delivers an
electrifying, Oscar-caliber performance. In fact, all the acting is flawless.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Manchurian Candidate" is a topical,
relevant 9, one of those superbly crafted, content-driven chillers that makes
Copyright © 2004 Susan Granger
Buy movie posters!