The Manchurian Candidate - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Manchurian Candidate Reviews

June 24, 2006
Happily, this extremely timely entertainment matches, even perhaps surpasses its predecessor.
August 28, 2004
Demme serves the picture completely.
August 13, 2004
Strikes me as a very artful cover -- about the cleverest imaginable transliteration of the story from its historical moment to ours.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
August 8, 2004
Far from a disgrace, but it's not freewheeling enough, not strange enough to make sense of our gathering dread.
August 7, 2004
Beautifully made and unsurpassingly creepy, it's the rare remake with something contemporary to add.
August 3, 2004
Following a dozen years of docs, light comedy, and p.c. weepies, Candidate represents Demme's best dramatic filmmaking since The Silence of the Lambs.
August 3, 2004
The first version was acidulous and brazenly absurd; this one is doggedly, wretchedly earnest.
August 2, 2004
[A] wild ride that never, never commits the crime of being dull.
July 30, 2004
A picture that purports to have a galvanizing, liberal-minded theme (big business is taking over our country and our lives) but is really just ploddingly pedestrian.
July 30, 2004
A stylish hoot: entertainingly edgy and ludicrous all at once.
July 30, 2004
It shunts through the material, doing some interesting synthesizing, some genetic recombining, but it all adds up to something less powerful and interesting than the original.
July 30, 2004
A case of smart and talented people trying to jam a Cold War square into a Gulf War circle.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
July 30, 2004
This one plays more like a contemporary techno-thriller with ultra-clammy '70s conspiracy thriller overtones, and Demme milks the atmosphere of pervasive, sleep-deprived dread beautifully.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
July 30, 2004
While Demme's Manchurian Candidate may be unnecessary, it's a worthy homage to the original; lacking the first film's spark but containing smarts of its own.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
July 30, 2004
The remake shakes down as a conventionally plotted thriller. It's the performances that make it exceptional.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
July 30, 2004
Given a story with meat and purpose and importance, Demme delivers a masterfully cast and smartly constructed film of devastating effectiveness.
Read More | Original Score: 5/5
July 30, 2004
Still works as a scary thriller, and if this version no longer seems absurdly impossible -- well, that's scarier still.
July 30, 2004
In movie heaven, the original is still the one for all time. Still, this update is remarkable for its performances, resolve and timeliness, and could well revive the snoozing political-thriller genre.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
July 30, 2004
An even more powerful comment on its time than the movie on which it's based.
Read More | Original Score: A-
July 30, 2004
The rare remake that takes on its own times and spirit. It's not better than the original -- in some areas it's weaker -- but it is its own movie.
Read More | Original Score: B+
July 30, 2004
This is an intelligent and detailed work, full of fine performances.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
July 30, 2004
Lacks some of the heart and soul of the original, but it still manages to be entertaining thanks in large part to the talents of Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep and Liev Schreiber.
July 30, 2004
Demme's film is more nuanced, less crazy-brilliant and, yes, probably less necessary, but it's still a confirmation of all the anxieties out there on the table and festering in our heads.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
July 30, 2004
Crisp pacing, an agitated sense of an unraveling reality and a uniformly strong cast earn this edition of The Manchurian Candidate a vote of recommendation.
Read More | Original Score: B
July 30, 2004
As literal-minded and dramatically flaccid as its predecessor was allusive and taut.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
July 30, 2004
Uniformly excellent performances keep this destabilizing tale ticking, yet one can't help wishing Hollywood had combined this cast and these timely themes with a little bit of imagination to come up with something fresh.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
July 30, 2004
Demme has taken a story we thought we knew and, while making its outlines mostly recognizable, rotated it into another dimension of conspiracy.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
July 30, 2004
Packed with strong performances and a literate script, it is rich in resonances torn from the headlines.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
July 29, 2004
A political and psychological thriller that is richer in texture and nuance than its predecessor without sacrificing impact.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
July 29, 2004
Almost good enough to earn a recommendation.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
July 29, 2004
This is one popcorn movie that provides food for thought, all the while remaining tense and witty.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
July 29, 2004
Demme never captures the clammy paranoia of the original, instead settling for a competent but largely hollow reinvention.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/5
July 29, 2004
Jonathan Demme, updating John Frankenheimer's classic exercise in cold war liberal paranoia, has made a witty, anxious thriller for a new age of political uncertainty.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
July 29, 2004
Filled with conspiracies, intrigue and the suggestion that modern-day society is purposely designed to drive us a little nuts, The Manchurian Candidate is a paranoid fantasy for our time.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
July 29, 2004
As much as I love Sinatra and Harvey, I'll argue that Washington and Schreiber are more than up to the challenge, while Streep, who says she has never seen the Frankenheimer movie, has to be commended for taking the job at all.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
July 29, 2004
Washington, Schreiber, Streep and company -- and Demme -- have managed to make all the malevolent machinations seem relevant again.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
July 29, 2004
Like its fabled predecessor, and novelist Richard Condon's 1959 potboiler before that, Jonathan Demme's remake of The Manchurian Candidate refashions an old gag into something cautionary, frightening and far less than far-fetched.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
July 29, 2004
That rarest of remakes: a reworking that puts an interesting new spin on a familiar premise but stands strongly on its own.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
July 29, 2004
I liked it, but I was also a bit disappointed.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
July 29, 2004
Angela Lansbury was right. A remake of John Frankenheimer's brilliant 1962 thriller, The Manchurian Candidate, is a lousy idea.
Read More | Original Score: D+
July 28, 2004
If Demme's version lacks the wallop of its predecessor, it is more likely to be popular with contemporary audiences, who will enjoy not only its labyrinthine twists but its stars' burnished professionalism.
July 28, 2004
It's a mesmerizing mind-teaser that finds its own way into the material, adapted from Richard Condon's 1959 novel.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
July 28, 2004
The Manchurian Candidate is meant to creep us out by building on a foundation of paranoia just this side of solid. Demme builds his model on stilts of fancy that let too much hot air blow through.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
July 20, 2004
This political thriller about a brainwashed soldier being positioned for the White House provides a delectable network of dramatic tripwires that teases the mind and quickens the pulse.
July 20, 2004
Simultaneously brings the original Cold War scenario bracingly up to date with a story line that pulses with a topical resonance while paying respectful homage to the late Frankenheimer's artistic vision.