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Review of the Manchurian Candidate

Posted by phduffy on 2004-08-08 22:10:07
The Manchurian Candidate stars Denzel Washington, Merryl Streep, and the dude from Scream that plays that bad dude, except he's not really the bad dude.

This is a remake of a classic, which I haven't seen. And I think it's to my benefit that I haven't seen the original, as I wasn't constantly comparing it with this version, or seeing where this version falls short.

The plot, in a nutshell. Denzel Washington was a commander in Iraq. His troops were attacked, he's knocked unconscious, and one of his lieutenants saves the troop. That lieutenant is now a US Senator (or congressman, I don't actually remember), as is his mother. His mother, Senator Shaw (Merryl Streep), pushes her son towards a nomination for Vice President.

In the meantime, Denzel Washington continues to work for the army, while at the same time having some strange dreams.

To give away anymore of the plot is to spoil the movie. Needless to say, there are twists aplenty. Actually, not so much twists as the unravelling of an onion. As we being the movie, we think "What the hell is going on?" Slowly the layers are removed, sometimes answering questions, sometimes leading to more questions. Sometime the answer is obvious, but that's not a slight to the movie. The real suspense comes from asking ourselves what the characters are going to do with the newfound information, and in fact, can they do anything with it?

Director Jonathan Demme does a masterful job of keeping the viewer on the edge of his/her seat. When the movie was quiet, you could tell the entire theatre was holding its collective breath. There was no coughing, fidgeting, or bathroom breaks. For 2 hours Demme kept the audience watching with wide eyed amazement. Demme is a weird directory. He directed the equally suspenseful, although quite different, Silence of the Lambs, and really not much of quality since then.

Well he just stepped it up. If you will, he just served the film industry that he's back. This is the most suspenseful movie I've seen in a long time. I recently commented on seeing Spartan, and how I agreed with Miguel that it was a good film. This is everything Spartan was and more. At times certain characters drip with evil and swarminess. At times we wonder who's good and who's bad. Or if anyone's good. And if there's any possible way that this film can be resolved in an ending that will be remotely satisfying.

Well just keep watching.

This film joins Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Harry Potter as the top films of 2004.

For the children:
Remember what I said about the Bourne Supremacy? Well, this will be even more confusing for you than it. So get the fuck back in line for Yu