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The Manchurian Candidate Reviews

Page 1 of 133
Dan S

Super Reviewer

October 14, 2007
A superbly acted and skillfully scripted story. Denzel, as always is terrific, but the big surprise is Liev Schreiber's awesome performance as a confused politician puppetered by his rich mother. The ending is appropriate and the story is rich in character color.
TheDudeLebowski65
TheDudeLebowski65

Super Reviewer

November 25, 2011
The Manchurian Candidate for me is an average thriller that works well enough because of a good cast. I enjoyed the film, but did feel it lacked something to really make it something excellent. If it wasn't for the cast, the film definitely wouldn't have the same effect, as the cast here are well chosen in their respective roles and are perfect in the parts they play. This is a good thriller, but is nothing really excellent. The film does have an entertaining story, which is engaging, however it lacks something really special to make this film memorable. The performances, like I stated is what really makes this film worth seeing, and above all makes the film interesting for the viewer. The Manchurian Candidate is better than what most people may think, and is a good remake for what it is, but of course it does not beat the original. Director Jonathan Demme delivers a good thriller with this remake even though it's not perfect, the film does deliver and entertaining two hours. I think that the film is underrated and was quite good considering that this is a remake. The cast like I said were great, and is one of the key aspects as to why the film works. There are things that could have been improved upon, but for the most part, this remake of the classic Manchurian Candidate is good enough entertainment for anyone looking for a good thriller. I really enjoyed this film and thought it was very good, but it was of course at times uneven.
DreamExtractor
DreamExtractor

Super Reviewer

July 28, 2011
The Manchurian Candidate was a good movie to me, despite what all these other people say. Its about a man who starts to suspect from his dreams tha him and his squad in the war were brainwashed and he must discover why and it leads him into secrets he should've never gotten into. The cast is incredible and I know Meryl Streep ios great but as usual Denzel in my opinion steals the show, his intensity and face expressions are just genius acting. The plot was very slow, but the more and more we watch it becomes even more and more interesting and we want to see how this will all end. I have never seen the original so I can't say much about that, but what I can say is I enjoyed this film and I think thats all that matters.
Jens S

Super Reviewer

June 14, 2006
This political conspiracy thriller takes a while to take off, starting out a bit confusing. The sometimes odd camera work, that gives off the vibe of dream-like situations doesn't exactly help in that regard. You can safely assume that all that's intentional, because once the pieces are moving things do get rather interesting, even exciting. The acting is top notch, considering the names involved here. Streep may be a tad over the top, but the film's plot is so far out there, you can hardly call it based in the real world anyway. Conspiracy theory freaks should get a kick out of it, though. Good entertainment.
Chiefilms
Chiefilms

Super Reviewer

June 1, 2011
You are a jelly doughnut. Meryl Streep was quite creepy. Need to watch the original so I can beef/salad up this review.
Drew S

Super Reviewer

April 11, 2010
Inevitably dragged to the chopping block for being (gasp!) a remake of a deservedly classic thriller, Jonathan Demme's take on The Manchurian Candidate is a great film in its own right. Just as bizarre in a contemporary context as its predecessor was 50 years ago, Demme is not afraid to take risks with this film. His protagonist is a mumbling, slurred mess, played with a surprising clarity by Denzel Washington. Washington effectively conveys that the mystery always seems to be at the tip of his fingers, its answer lurking in his brain, and that makes the movie's increased focus on him really pay off. Meryl Streep is reliably dynamic as the reimagined Ms. Shaw/Iselin, though I do think she pales a little bit next to Angela Lansbury's interpretation. Where Streep is an immediate elemental force to all who meet her, talking and walking like a regular news pundit, Lansbury gave her character a creeping insidiousness that made her all the more evil. The one person who I didn't really care for is Liev Schreiber. I cannot buy him as a political power player, even with Streep pulling the strings; he looks too weaselly and hard-faced to kindle any sort of public affection. I think there was a little bit of shadiness going on in the casting of this movie (note also that his brother got an admittedly small part), and even though he is technically sufficient, there are so many other actors who could have done this part better.

To be honest, I really only remember the fundamental's of the original's plot. This film is unwaveringly faithful to those roots while unabashedly modernizing much of the in-between; I feel that many of the people who dislike this remake don't hate it because of the technique or content, but simply out of sacred-cow closed-mindedness. This film makes a good case for the argument that, ultimately, a remake is still its own movie, no matter how closely it follows or how much it deviates from the one that came before it. Perhaps this was only greenlighted to make money - stranger things have happened in Hollywood - but Demme clearly cared about the product he was making here. It is uncynical and creative and generally exciting to watch, even if you already know the outcome. Definitely recommended, as long as you keep a fair perspective on things.
garyX
garyX

Super Reviewer

April 29, 2007
The captain of a recon patrol which went missing for three days in the deserts of Kuwait begins to question his own memories after a disturbing visit from one of his men. "Remake" is inevitably a dirty word in cinema but Jonathan "Silence Of The Lambs" Demme is no stranger to suspense, which along with a promising cast made this film a rather more interesting propostion than most Hollywood cash cows. In fact Demme's skillful build up of tension combined with Denzel's believable performance as a man who is hallucinating, possibly delusional and questioning his sanity makes for a very intriguing foundation to the story. It also chooses to avoid the usual laziness of most Hollywood thrillers by not including irrelevant gun battles and car chases, and has enough twists and turns to the plot to maintain the interest. It's a shame that the conclusion to the story doesn't live up to this initial promise, as the inclusion of hokey X-Files style technology and an increasingly preposterous plot is capped by an unsatisfying conclusion that feels like a half-hearted homage to The Dead Zone. Certainly not a complete waste of time, but a decent finale might have realized the superior conspiracy thriller this could've been.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 24, 2009
It's ok but it's not as good as the original!
Aaron N

Super Reviewer

May 31, 2006
Senator Thomas Jordan: And you bring me rumors and conjecture.
Ben Marco: I started with nightmares. Rumors, conjectures, that's a giant leap forward.

Since I just wrote about the original, I might as well comment on this one.

This remake is actually pretty good. It helps that a lot of great talent is involved. Jonathon Demme serving as director. A cool Washington stepping in for Sanatra. Meryl Streep playing the bitch mother. and Liev Shreiber, who I have always been a fan of, playing my favorite character from the original. Then the movie adds in Jeffrey Wright to play a character further expanded upon in this version, making things seem even better.

The movie works well as a thriller. The update concerning the various forces of evil at work considering the more modern time frame is effective and suitable.

Its definetely worth a watch, but see the original, as it is much better.

[manipulating Raymond]
Eleanor Shaw: Sergeant Shaw.
Raymond Shaw: [Abruptly] What...?
Eleanor Shaw: Sergeant Raymond Shaw.
Raymond Shaw: Mother, I...
Eleanor Shaw: Raymond Prentiss Shaw.
Raymond Shaw: Yes.
Eleanor Shaw: Listen.
Al S

Super Reviewer

August 11, 2006
A bold, brilliant and mind blowing edge of your seat thriller. Well performed and excellently excuted. Exciting, gripping, powerful, thrilling, unforgettable and unstoppably bone-chilling. As good as suspense thrillers get. An explosive edge of your seat ride. An awsome updated plot of the classic. Unraveling twist and turns that always keep you going. A masterwork. Director, Jonathen Demme is a master of intelligent thrillers. Denzel Washington is teriffic. Meryl Streep is excellent. Liev Schreiber is compelling.
sanjurosamurai
sanjurosamurai

Super Reviewer

January 23, 2007
this was a pretty good flick. it was a little slow in the beginning and the story was hard to fathom but it was a good thriller with high moments of tension. i havent seen the original yet but this made me want to watch it. worth seeing for sure.
puffchunk
puffchunk

Super Reviewer

October 1, 2007
I like Liev Schreiber, but that's about it. Jon Voight cannot play anything but the corrupt leader in any movie.
Stephen M

Super Reviewer

September 23, 2007
If somebody had to remake the greatest political thriller of all time, Jonathan Demme should have been a safe pair of hands. The original still chills to the bone but this reduces the story to a slick hi-tech thriller with topical but pointless references to the War on Terror. The opening is clumsy, the pacing is abysmal and the climax singularly lacking in tension. Three good lead performances fail to erase Sinatra, Harvey and (especially) Lansbury from the memory.
William S

Super Reviewer

September 22, 2007
A terrible remake of a great film. Even though I think Meryl Streep is actually very good she is just no match for Angela Lansbury's terrifying performance in the original.
thmtsang
thmtsang

Super Reviewer

July 21, 2007
Excellent thriller!
Dean !

Super Reviewer

June 10, 2007
A very slow odd film that takes too long to get to the point.....by which time it does, you won't care what is going on.
deano
deano

Super Reviewer

April 14, 2007
This blustery Oedipal update of the harrowing Cold War thriller is alternately tense and ridiculous.
jjnxn
jjnxn

Super Reviewer

April 11, 2007
Meryl Streep is good but missing Angela Lansbury icy edge as for the rest, stick with the original
Ross C

Super Reviewer

March 19, 2007
X-files meets 24, in this convoluted conspiracy theory thriller about a corporation attempting to install a puppet president through brainwashing a squadron of soldiers.
Lanning :

Super Reviewer

January 13, 2007
This is a decent thriller. Washington is solid. Schreiber is definitely on the rise. These two bring everything they have to the project, but it still isn't enough to guarantee coherence. Don't you think Meryl Streep has earned the right not to take roles like this? In film, it's usually refreshing to work against type. A good villain role every once in a while can do wonders for an acting career. But Streep has reached the pinnacle, a long time ago in fact, and there's a difference between a well-crafted villain role and a creep. Streep doesn't need to play creeps, and she certainly doesn't have to play weakly conceived creeps. When a cast this strong and this deep comes together, is it wrong to expect there should be more?
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