The Manchurian Candidate
- Jonathan Demme
- Reviewed by
- José Ruiloba a.k.a. Morris
- Review date
- Monday, October 11, 2004
Ben Marco (Denzel Washington) and Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber) fought together in the Vietnam war. They were even part of a heroic mission in which Shaw apparently defended and saved his whole troop from enemy forces. Flash-forward many years later and there’s Shaw as a Vice-Presidential candidate powered by his mother, Senator Eleanor Shaw (Meryl Streep). Everything’s running smoothly until Ben appears with stories about some dreams he’s been having in which he doesn’t recall Shaw as a war hero. Not only that, but he thinks they were both victims of a mind-bending corporation with evil plans.
The Manchurian Candidate couldn’t have come at a better time. It arrived just when the United States, and the whole world, is all about politics and elections and candidates and so forth. This movie is obviously fictional (it even has some science fiction elements), but at its core, it is just a daunting portrait of the political scenario as we know it. And that’s really scary, as we come to witness how cold-blooded people can get when they want more power and are not going to stop at anything to achieve it. Sounds familiar?
Director Jonathan Demme is smart enough to update a classic while not trying to emulate it. Fact is his movie works, mainly because it is a tight, well-written political thriller. The movie does boast some strange imagery and situations, but its characters are as real as they get, and we are, just like them, starving for the truth.
Besides, the ending totally kills. Talk about nail-biting sequences!
The scenes involving Shaw and his mother are amongst the best the movie has to offer. Their relationship and the way his mother has so much power upon his poor soul is really disturbing. Who cares if there’s a whole conspiracy going on when everything returns in cycles to the essentials: family.
I enjoyed very much everyone’s performances, especially that of a scene-stealing Meryl Streep. She plays the kind of character that when she enters a room, nobody can take their eyes off of her. Well, the same happens to us. She’s magnetic… and quite frightening. Denzel can do no wrong and this is no exception, while Schreiber holds himself remarkably well among such an experienced cast. Jon Voight and Kimberly Elise give strong support in minor roles.
Entertaining, intelligent fun!
CriticSociety en Twitter | CriticSociety en Facebook
Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter