The Manchurian Candidate (2004)



Years after his squad was ambushed during the Gulf War, Major Ben Marco (Denzel Washington) finds himself having terrible nightmares. He begins to doubt that his fellow squad-mate Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber), now a vice-presidential candidate, is the hero he remembers him being. As Marco’s doubts deepen, Shaw’s political power grows, and, when Marco finds a mysterious implant embedded in his back, the memory of what really happened begins to return.

The flashbacks frequently used can be confusing but they are also intriguing. In fact these are vital to understanding the eventual outcome. This film is a great example of how to use the facility to good effect.

The action is steady and draws the viewer along at equal pace but is by no means boring. The film retains its suspense right up to the end. The characters are well formed and acted though the Meryl Streep one is a bit over-the-top but nonetheless effective. The eventual revelations are not really expected even though hints constantly arise. It is certainly a film viewers will stick with, if for no other reason than to make sense of what has been going on.

This 2004 version is a remake of the 1962 one to which many of the film’s reviewers refer. Many consider the original the best though some appreciate the intent for this latest version to be different. I have not seen the 1962 version and may only say how much I enjoyed this later edition. It is certainly a film I would watch again.

Disclaimer: The poster image is the intellectual property of Paramount Pictures. It has been used here under ‘Fair Use’ principles.