Is the government experimenting on the mind's our soldiers? Do private corporations have the ability to influence the country through a brainwashed citizen? It's all here in "The Manchurian Candidate", a 2004 remake of Richard Condon's booked titled with same name. This film has been attempted before in 1962, but for most of us, it would seem that this version is more relevant. Denzel Washington stars as Major Bennett, a sleeper agent or conspiracy theorist with truth in his words?
"The Manchurian Candidate" is a quality film bringing to light some of the questions most US citizens have had at one time or another. Has the White House ever been compromised? How safe are our the country's sons when they are far away from home? Not to get all, Cloak and Dagger, but if events in this
movie were ever to take place we'd all be in for a world of trouble. Johnathan Demme took on the task of directing this 2004 film, let's have a look inside.
So the movie entails a soldier, Major Bennett(Denzel) questioning the truth of events that he and his brethren experienced during a mission on foreign soil. You see it's one thing to remember what happened, but it's another to have no validity of a memory. Yeah, it's definitely a stretch of the imagination for us to ponder, but anything is possible, isn't it? Major Bennett attempts to test his theories, by speaking with some of the men from his company, but only to find that the truth becomes even more unclear. How can something so intimate be so vague?
As the story moves along, it becomes evident that the soldiers are having connected dreams relating to an incident outside of what they remember happening during their mission. How can this be? How can a shared dream of torture and brainwashing be so real, yet not be what they remember? Okay, Unhinged readers hang in there because this movie is full of theoretical notions and cognitive missteps. Let me see if I can't give this film some linear fluidity..lol. Major Bennett is in over his head and literally trying to figure out what the government may have done to him and his company during an overseas mission.
Now the interesting piece of the film is that Raymond Shaw(Schreiber), a soldier who also returned from the mission, is lined up for the position of U.S Vice President. How is this even possible when everyone else has had psychiatric counseling or is unable to even function on a rational plane of thought? Major Bennett explores this with steel toe boots and a flashlight, uncovering bigger pieces to the puzzle which confuse him even more. Even more intriguing is the fact that along with the introduction of political interests, we are introduced to Manchurian Global, a wealthy company that is known for experimentation in memory replacement. Are we connecting the dots yet?
This movie is definitely worth watching at least once, if not for the love of conspiracy theories, then for the amazing acting within the film. Meryl Streep also stars in the film as Eleanor Shaw, a blood thirsty Senator which also happens to be Raymond's mother. Eleanor has had some strange connections in her political rise such as her first name basis relationship with Manchurian Global. Yeah, it gets pretty thick in the fray. Streep's performance in this movie is sound, as she breathes in suspense and exhales a manipulative Eleanor that will stop at nothing to achieve her goals.
All in all, "The Manchurian Candidate" is a movie that will leave you talking at the end. It will have you questioning the information that you receive from the media regarding the threat of terrorism in our own backyard. You will wonder about what forms of mind control have been attempted in our country's history and better yet, what forms of brainwashing are being used today? I'm going to leave this one right here, but I encourage you to take a second to view "The Manchurian Candidate" because it is well worth the watch.
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If your a fan of Denzel, you may find these reviews of interest: "The Great Debaters" and "Flight".