The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
Directed by Jonathan Demme
Based on the novel The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon
Screenplay by Daniel Pyne, Dean Georgaris
Starring: Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Liev Schreiber, John Voigt
Major Ben Marco (Washington) bears the physical and emotional scars of his time in Iraq during the Gulf War. A series of strange events has led him to question the way things happened during that time. When he approaches Raymond Shaw (Schreiber), a fellow veteran turned politician, he begins to find more questions than answers. Now Marco is caught in a web of deception being led by dangerous and powerful people.
This film is the re-imagination of the classic film of the same name that was released in 1962. This movie, like the 1962 version, is based on the 1959 novel written by Richard Condon. This time the screenplay was written by Daniel Pyne (Fracture) and Dean Georgaris (Paycheck). Oscar winner Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs) directed this one. The cast includes Denzel Washington (The Siege), Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada), Liev Schreiber (The Sum of All Fears), and John Voigt (Pride and Glory).
This is an interesting attempt to update the 1959 novel for the 2000s. This time the story is based around the Gulf War, and focuses on many of the real issues facing returning veterans. The update also eliminated the Communist threat in exchange for a more modern enemy. Most aspects of the script are well done. The dialogue and the action written for this film are interesting. The technological advances portrayed in this one are believable and interesting. Overall, this is a movie with a solid story.
The acting in this one is really good. Denzel Washington was a good choice to lead the way in this movie. His role as a troubled man spans a wide range of emotional content and physical adjustments. Additionally, Liev Schreiber does a great job as the war hero and politician. Like Washington, he brought together a performance with a large range of emotions. The star of the film might be Denzel Washington, but the best performance comes from Meryl Streep. Her performance brings an insidious nature out of her character that is wonderful and disturbing all at once. The rest of the cast in this movie does a good job in their roles. John Voigt is just one of a number of recognizable faces who brings this one to life.
This movie is good from the visual side of things as well. The flashback sequences are powerful and often very disturbing. In addition, the score for this film adds to the suspenseful nature of many scenes. This music was composed by Oscar-winning composer, Rachel Portman (Marvin’s Room). These aspects, in addition to solid camera work and set design, bring this one together nicely.
This is a good movie, but not one that will ever replace the 1962 film. Despite this, the story was updated nicely and the acting is good. If you’re a fan of the stars in this one, I would definitely check it out. I would also suggest this to fans of thrillers and conspiracy films. I give this one 4 out of 5 stars.
The tone is a bit off in this movie, but I like the performances here and I enjoyed how Demme didn’t cast the typical people we’d expect to see in a remake of the original. Good review.
Thanks for checking it out. I think this movie did as much as you can do with a remake of a classic. Not great, but good.