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The Manchurian Candidate back to product details

written by Texan99 September 5, 2010 - 1:30 PM PDT
I don't understand how Mr. Demme, Mr. Washington, Mr. Schreiber, and Ms. Streep (all favorites of mine) could have gone so disastrously wrong with such a fine piece of source material. I can only think that a preoccupation with using the story to score a couple of banal contemporary political shots blinded the filmmakers to what made the 1962 original so shockingly entertaining. Frankenheimer and Condon were exploiting their audience's political preconceptions to vicious dramatic effect, while Demme and crew only seem to be pandering to commonplace notions -- and in so doing, they actually make the story drag. Rent the original instead. Even better, buy a copy of your own.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
written by chocopups August 17, 2005 - 3:16 PM PDT
0 out of 3 members found this review helpful
This is a decent effort by all involved, but it's undercut by the fact that we don't have to watch a movie to picture a lapdog of a global military contractor a heartbeat away from the presidency.

A Worthy Remake
written by talltale December 16, 2004 - 7:15 AM PST
4 out of 6 members found this review helpful
Fans of the original MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE will find a lot of like in this updated version. There are enough subtle (and not so) changes to the story to keep you on your toes, and director Demme has shot through this remake with an even stronger sense of paranoia than the original (which had a lot more humor and off-the-wall charm, probably thanks to George Axelrod's script). No wonder so many characters react to Denzel Washington as though his character were a nut: He comes off like one for much of the movie. Cleverly, the film manages to counteract my own strongest objection to it (with all their power and control, the bad guys would have killed off Denzel as soon as he started making waves. Hmmm, maybe not). And, unless I missed something major, this update leaves the door ajar as to what REALLY happened--and why. You'll probably argue about this with your friends, and for good reason. Still, after viewing this state-of-the-art thriller I have to admit understanding why it was not a big hit (it did so-so at the American box-office and not much worldwide). It weaves into its plot a lot of references to our present situation (terror alerts, a rich and powerful worldwide company exerting behind-the-scenes control) that just plain make viewers feel too uncomfortable: post-election, with the release of the DVD, even more so than pre-, when the film was in movie theatres. This is not necessarily a negative judgment, but I believe it's the major reason the movie was not heartily embraced and recommended. Americans don't like what makes us feel uncomfortable--and even more paranoid than we already are. "The Parallax View" was not a big hit in its day, either.

Give This Candidate A Chance
written by ZenBones December 1, 2004 - 11:57 AM PST
5 out of 7 members found this review helpful
I began to condemn this film before I even saw it. The original film was a near-masterpiece that in my opinion couldn't be topped, and I tend to have an allergy to today's slick, big-budget Hollywood thrillers. I can't say this film topped the original film, but it does have enough merit to exist as its contemporary equal. The two films are quite different in technique but they share a stunning ability to tap into the political consciousness of their eras. The original "Manchurian Candidate" unintentionally foreshadowed one of the most key events in American history; a political assassination captured live on TV. Can the events depicted in this film keep us guessing as to what is in store for us in the near future? Let's see, do our government leaders have political and financial ties with large corporations that make huge profits from war? Are there new technologies that are crossing moral boundaries regarding our privacy, and new laws that allow them to do that in order to 'protect our democracy'? Does the media keep us terrified of unseen enemies, while assuring us that the secrecy in our government is necessary to fight those unseen enemies? And... is it possible that in the near future, politicians and the industries that bought and paid for them will do ANYTHING to remain in power; including brainwashing and murder? Like the phrase that rang out throughout this year's campaigning: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid! If nothing else, the paranoia depicted in this film matches the emotional climate of today.

Even if you chose not to buy into the inauspicious signs proposed by this film, you can still enjoy it all as a finely crafted, searing potboiler that keeps you coiled up throughout its duration. I had a bit of a problem with Meryl Streep's hammy performance, but Denzel Washington is great and Liev Schreiber is a revelation. And... despite the fact that this film IS a slick, big-budget Hollywood thriller, I didn't feel a need to heave once. How's that for a great recommendation!


(Average 5.92)
119 Votes
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