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The Manchurian Candidate

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This film doesn’t top the 1962 original, however, it stands on its own as an exciting political conspiracy thriller.

Denzel Washington plays a psychologically troubled 1991 Gulf War veteran. One evening, his platoon was ambushed, resulting in a firefight. Knocked unconscious, he still has a vivid memory of what happened. One of his troops, Sgt Raymond Shaw, ends up performing some heroic actions that saved the lives of his fellow soldiers. All but two survive and the Sgt ends up winning a medal of honor. Upon returning to the US, the Sgt., son of a senator, ends up becoming a congressman. Oddly enough, the way they are touting John Kerry’s military record for saving his boat crew is similar. The problem is, that Washington obtains discovers that his one and only dream, a nightmarish recollection as a result of brainwashing, is shared by another of his former platoon mates.

Mentored by his controlling Senator mother, played superbly by Meryl Streep, Raymond Shaw ends up as possible candidate for Vice President.

In the first film, the would-be President is a Communist sleeper. In this film, the conglomerate Manchurian Global serves as the conspiring organization. They are portrayed not unlike Dick Cheney’s old employer, Halliburton. The spectre of corporate greed is a credible replacement for a much diminished political ideology.

There is a possible continuity error in the film. After VP candidate Shaw votes in an elementary school, his is ushered upstairs for a meeting with the Washington character. Moments later, one of the Secret Service men hides a gun in an air duct in the same building. We see the gun re-appear later in the film, but it appears to be a totally different building.

While likely not a blockbuster, this is an entertaining film nonetheless.

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About Triniman

Almost weekly, Triniman catches new movies, and adds one or two CDs to his collection. Due to time constraints, he blogs about only 5% of the CDs, books and DVDs that he purchases. Holed up in the geographic centre of North America, the cultural mecca of Canada, and the sunniest city north of the 49th, Winnipeg, Triniman blogs a bit when he's not swatting mosquitoes, shoveling snow or golfing.