Friday, December 28, 2007

The Manchurian Candidate Review

The Manchurian Candidate

Year: 2004
Director: Jonathan Demme
Starring: Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Liev Schreiber, Jeffrey Wright, Kimberly Elise
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
MPAA: Rated R

Having missed The Manchurian Candidate in theatres, I was thrilled to watch it on DVD. I haven't seen the original, but I heard so many great things about it so I was more than excited for this remake. Knowing that Denzel, Meryl and Liev were in it, not to mention it being directed by The Silence of the Lambs helmer, Jonathan Demme, I was more than confident this remake wouldn't be a let down, but I guess I was wrong.

During the first Gulf War, a platoon of American soldiers headed by Major Ben Marco (Denzel Washington), is captured by an unknown enemy and is brainwashed. One soldier, a quiet loner named Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber), has since been declared a hero and helped along by his demanding, but confident mother, Senator Eleanor Shaw (Meryl Streep) has become the next vice presidential candidate. Troubled by a string of disturbing dreams, Marco begins to suspect that there is something wrong and cant really remember what actually happened during that war.

The story for The Manchurian Candidate is kind of a let down. After reading reviews of the original and comparing it to this remake, its pretty obvious that there were some things changed or replaced. I don't want to get into it, but its NOT totally the same as the original, but since I haven't seen the original, I thought the story of this one was decent. At the start of the film, the plot tends to get really interesting with great camera angles, but then it just goes pretty much down hill from there. There are parts of the film that were alittle confusing at first or just weren't right. Not to mention that the film is over 2 hours long which to me feels alittle longer than it should be.

The casting for the film is great. When I mean great, I mean great because everyone is top notch. Obviously Denzel does his thing and its good. I wouldn't say Great as his other performances, but its much better than his most recent performance in Deja Vu. Liev Schreiber and Meryl Streep are great together and both perform very good. Overall, I felt the cast was great. Everyone seemed pretty right for their roles.

The music in the film was alright. The beginning introduction to the film is opened with wavy colors that match the music that's playing in the backround. Considering that most of the film is just dialogue, but there are areas where the music comes in. These areas are great because it separates the dialogue while giving the audience some music to keep that tension up. The Manchurian Candidate doesn't have a whole lot of music, but whats there is good.

The film has many great camera angles that are trademark from Jonathan Demme. There are many moments where the camera is straight up in some of the face's of the cast and you can really tell their facial expressions or whats really going on in their minds. I think this works really good because we can get a sense of what these characters in the film are really thinking of.

The Manchurian Candidate isn't considered a great remake because it kind of stays away from the original while still having the same plot. I found the story confusing at times even though it was getting interesting. The ending is done pretty bad with no real explanation what so ever while the acting is good and the cast looks great while the music is dim, but pretty good at the same time. I cant really recommend this film to anyone because its not really a great film. However I can recommend to those who are interested in political thrillers or if your just a very big fan of the cast.

Rating: 6.8 / 10

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