Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

Senator Jordan (Jon Voight): And you bring me rumors and conjecture.
Maj Bennet Marco (Denzel Washington): I started with nightmares. Rumors and conjecture – that’s a giant leap forward.

A platoon in the Gulf War is ambushed, and mostly saved by young soldier Raymond Shaw (Liev Shreiber) who goes on to excel in politics and get selected as the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate. But the platoon leader Major Bennett Marco (Denzel Washington) is starting to believe that his dreams of a mass hypnosis of all personel involved may be true. After a very slow first 45 minutes, the film gets into high gear with the confrontations between Marco and Shaw. There’s something particularly creepy about the almost robotic actions of Shaw when he is given his directive, and it’s compelling to see just a glimmer of morality despite all the programming. Meryl Streep is truly chilling in one of her most evil roles.
Rating: 2.75 of 4 reviewed 28 Dec 2007

"A picture that purports to have a galvanizing, liberal-minded theme (big business is taking over our country and our lives) but is really just ploddingly pedestrian."
- Stephanie Zacharek (

"Uniformly excellent performances keep this destabilizing tale ticking, yet one can't help wishing Hollywood had combined this cast and these timely themes with a little bit of imagination to come up with something fresh."
- Megan Lehmann (New York Post)

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