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8 reviews, 54 user ratings

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Manchurian Candidate, The (2004)
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by Elaine Perrone

"A Candidate well worth your consideration."
4 stars

In 1991, the battlefield was Kuwait, not Korea, and in 2004, the enemy is not Communism but The Corporation. In the vision of director Jonathan Demme and writers Daniel Pyne and Dean Georgaris, the titular "Manchurian" is not the Chinese government but a multi-national conglomerate called Manchurian Global. Here, their privately-owned vice presidential "Candidate" is ostensible war-hero, Medal of Honor recipient Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber), who has been painstakingly groomed for the Oval Office by Big Business and his ruthless mother, Senator Eleanor Prentiss Shaw (Meryl Streep). This time around, Ben Marco (Denzel Washington) is the delusional loner brainwashed as a trained assassin, the man intended to be the vehicle propelling Halliburton...er, Manchurian Global into the Shaw White House.

Wisely opting not to simply remake and update John Frankenheimer's 1962 original, Demme, Pyne, and Georgaris, along with co-producers Scott Rudin, Scott Aversano, and Tina Sinatra, have delivered a sharply written, intelligent, thoroughly believable study of paranoia and conspiracy in the world of contemporary politics. While perhaps not quite as chilling, nor as witty, as Frankenheimer's masterpiece (or Richard Condon's novel, upon which it was based), which took aim at 1950s McCarthyism, Manchurian Candidate 2004 is a worthy political thriller in its own right, highly relevant and beautifully timed.

The three leads are terrific. Denzel Washington is totally convincing, and sympathetic, as Ben Marco, the soldier who is haunted by visions that he comes to learn are not only his own. Meryl Streep is chilling as Senator Eleanor Shaw, the woman who will stop at nothing to achieve the power she sees as her birthright, a prerogative denied her by her weak-willed husband. Best of all is Liev Schreiber, who has become one of the finest American actors working today. Raymond Shaw, as Schreiber portrays him, is a man of great depth and charisma, one with inherent principles who finds himself in moral, and mental, conflict.

Also fine in strong supporting roles are Jeffrey Wright (Angels in America) as the fellow soldier who confronts Marco, and the army, with the men's shared nightmares, and Jon Voight as a principled senator who is a threat to Manchurian Global's best laid plans.

Perfectly poised to stand beside Fahrenheit 9/11 and The Corporation this election year, The Manchurian Candidate is a worthy companion piece to both.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=10268&reviewer=376
originally posted: 07/27/04 21:54:38
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell a good remake imho 4 stars
4/03/12 Theodore Roosevelt How did they know in '04 that Rick Santorum would run for president in the near future? 3 stars
1/25/10 Jeff Wilder A fairly decent remake. Demme and cast make it work. 4 stars
7/21/08 the dork knight Pales in comparison to the first 2 stars
3/01/08 Pamela White not as good as the first but well crafted 3 stars
3/19/07 R.W.Welch Less plausible than the original with excessive mumbling. C+ 3 stars
1/30/07 action movie fan dull just like the first 2 stars
7/30/06 Scotty It was alright as a thriller, But I kept comparing it to the original. 3 stars
6/24/06 MP Bartley Good thriller. Keeps the attention if unlikely to linger long in the memory. 4 stars
3/10/06 Tanya Denzel is great as always 4 stars
1/15/06 Frank Rountree Well acted, interesting story 4 stars
11/15/05 noops just nothing special... 3 stars
8/11/05 yuko world peace...... 4 stars
4/17/05 Indrid Cold More sophisticated, but less intense than the original. 4 stars
2/16/05 Kathleen4691 Good adaptation of original, updated with new plot twists. 4 stars
2/14/05 Bobby da Squid Excellent acting saves the film from completely slipping into confusing paranoia 4 stars
2/14/05 Angela Saunders Disappointing, didn't live up to the hype, never ties up loose ends. 2 stars
2/10/05 HL Thousands of Better Movies..Thousands Worse. 4 stars
2/04/05 LilyM Well acted, but that's it. Quite boring; it doesn't duplicate the suspense of the original. 2 stars
1/01/05 DM Not as good as the original, but still gripping. 4 stars
12/30/04 Tjalda L. Schiel Another worthless remake 2 stars
12/29/04 Katie Evridge very good thriller. Unexpected ride! 4 stars
12/27/04 efrain radical. 5 stars
11/22/04 alien assassin not as good as the original, but well worth seeing 4 stars
11/05/04 One more paranoid American “and all the while scarlet thoughts, putrid fantasies, and no love” --Louis Auchincloss 4 stars
10/29/04 John Bale Excellent and timely hi-tech remake which does credit to Condons novel. 5 stars
8/24/04 nick2k not bad...a lil slower pace than i expected though 4 stars
8/22/04 joepuzzle The Best Movie So Far of 2004, Truly an Awesome Accomplishment on Every Level 5 stars
8/20/04 Jiz Halliburton is controlling Dick Cheney through his "pacemaker." This movie proves it. 5 stars
8/14/04 psycho dwarf Although thought-provoking, it engenders more confusion than debate. 4 stars
8/13/04 Desperado very good, good drama should have been called the Halliburton Candidate 5 stars
8/13/04 Obi Wan Good movie, not great. Seemed a lil slow sometimes 4 stars
8/09/04 John Larson So so, not all that greta and a bit far fetched. Loses focus and a bit unconvincing. 2 stars
8/07/04 Charlie Have not seen the original but found this very good entertainment. 4 stars
8/05/04 Agent Sands Good credentials, but the original was a bit better. Good POV shots. 4 stars
8/05/04 Mix Master Mason Look for Robyn Hitchcock as a double agent, brilliant. 5 stars
8/03/04 Brad Good movie...but nothing too amazing 4 stars
8/02/04 Sen John Yerkis Iselin I have in my hand 57 reasons why this mess can't hold a candle to the original masterpiece. 1 stars
8/02/04 Betsy Poor imitation of the original, although I enjoyed Streep channelling Hillary 2 stars
8/02/04 Obi Wan Very good film, good performances all around..good ending 5 stars
8/01/04 Scott great acting, deus ex Machina ending too fake 3 stars
8/01/04 marvin naiman FASCINATION AND MIND BOGLING 5 stars
8/01/04 Jacobtwotwo Not as nuanced as the original creates same creepy foreboding mood though. 4 stars
7/31/04 M Vallee Excellent - from beginning until the end 5 stars
7/31/04 Ian Definitely a movie to go see with your mother. All BS aside, a twisted, yet intriguing flik 4 stars
7/31/04 BB Essential viewing, great performances by Liev and Denzel--do not miss this one! 5 stars
7/31/04 Uncle Phucker Best movie of the year so far besides Spartan. 4 stars
7/30/04 Titus Nicely done, but a little lacking in places. Don't think about it too closely. 4 stars
7/30/04 arctic Denzel and Meryl can do wrong when it comes to acting 5 stars
7/28/04 NiraliKumar Good version of the original 4 stars
7/27/04 Large Farve Loved it, good suspense. Continuity be damned! 5 stars
7/23/04 Koitus Interesting remake. Had quite a few "disconnects," though. Meryl rocked! 3 stars
7/23/04 Ray Strong and interesting 5 stars
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  30-Jul-2004 (R)
  DVD: 21-Dec-2004



Directed by
  Jonathan Demme

Written by
  Daniel Pyne

  Denzel Washington
  Meryl Streep
  Liev Schreiber
  Jon Voight
  Kimberly Elise
  Ted Levine

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