The Manchurian Candidate

I should preface this review by saying that I have not seen the original Frankenheimer film, so I don't know how well this one measures up. Still, it's pretty easy to see where this one must be different: terrorists and corporations instead of communists, and RF implants in place of simple brainwashing. All in all, this wasn't a bad movie. The film had a pretty clear political bias, but the pacing was good and there was a good feeling of intensity to the movie. Actually, it was kind of surprising to me how well the story could be updated, and I think if it hadn't been a remake it still would have been able to stand on its own. I found it interesting that Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep were two of the main characters, as I don't consider either of them to be great actors. But where Streep always strikes me as very needy and fake on the screen, Washington's passion and energy always seems appropriate for the roles he takes. The real actors of note in this one were Liev Schreiber and Jeffrey Wright. Schreiber is the kind of actor who you've seen plenty of times but can never remember where. He brings a kind of self-effacing dignity to this movie that I liked. Wright is a real chameleon. I've now seen him in three films and he was so different in each one that it took me a while even to recognize him. The sad thing is that he's so good as a character actor that I doubt he'll ever be big. In any case, I did like this movie, but I'll have to see the original before I can really make up my mind about it.

Viewed: 8/19/2004 | Released: 7/21/2004 | Score: B

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