The Manchurian Candidate

Watch The Manchurian Candidate

"Everything is under control."
  • R
  • 2004
  • 2 hr 9 min
  • 6.6  (116,538)
  • 76

The Manchurian Candidate is a political thriller film from 2004, a remake of the 1962 movie of the same name. It stars Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, and Meryl Streep, and it was directed by Jonathan Demme. The movie is set in contemporary times, in the aftermath of the Gulf War. The story begins with a unit of American soldiers, including Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber), being ambushed and captured during the Gulf War. They are taken to a secret location in North Korea, where they are brainwashed and turned into unwitting sleeper agents. After their rescue and return to the US, Shaw is hailed as a hero for saving his unit, and his mother, Senator Eleanor Prentiss Shaw (Meryl Streep), is a powerful and ambitious politician.

Meanwhile, Major Bennett Marco (Denzel Washington), who was also part of the unit, is haunted by nightmares and strange visions of his time in captivity. He begins to suspect that something is not right with Shaw's heroic story, and he starts investigating. With the help of a woman named Eugenie Rose (Kimberly Elise), who was also briefly captured in Iraq and had similar experiences, Marco uncovers a conspiracy that goes all the way to the top of the US government.

As the plot thickens, Shaw himself becomes a presidential candidate, with his mother as his running mate. Marco realizes that he must stop the brainwashed soldier from becoming a puppet of a foreign power, but he also has to deal with his own mental instability and the possibility that he too might have been programmed. The tension builds up to a climactic ending, where the true nature of the Manchurian Candidate is revealed.

The movie received mixed reviews upon its release, with some critics praising its timely themes and intense performances, while others criticized it for being too convoluted and melodramatic. Nevertheless, it remains a compelling and suspenseful tale of politics, power, and manipulation, with excellent acting from the main cast. Washington portrays a believable and sympathetic protagonist, torn between his duty and his sanity, while Schreiber brings a sinister edge to the role of the brainwashed soldier. Streep, as always, is a force to be reckoned with, portraying a character who is both ruthless and vulnerable.

The film also touches upon some interesting themes, such as the role of media in shaping public opinion, the morality of warfare, and the dangers of unchecked military and governmental power. It raises important questions about the limits of free will and the nature of identity, as the characters struggle with their past, present, and future selves. Moreover, it is not afraid to tackle contemporary issues, such as the Iraq War and the post-9/11 political landscape, and to critique the flaws and hypocrisies of American politics.

Overall, The Manchurian Candidate is an engaging and thought-provoking thriller, with a strong cast and a compelling storyline. While it may not be as memorable as the original film, it stands on its own as a gripping tale of conspiracy and power, with a message that is still relevant today. If you are a fan of political dramas or psychological thrillers, this movie is definitely worth checking out.

The Manchurian Candidate is a 2004 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 9 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.6 and a MetaScore of 76.

The Manchurian Candidate
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 9 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.6  (116,538)
  • Metascore