A grief-stricken mother takes on the LAPD to her own detriment when it stubbornly tries to pass off an obvious impostor as her missing child, while also refusing to give up hope that she will find him one day.
When his army unit was ambushed during the first Gulf War, Sergeant Raymond Shaw saved his fellow soldiers just as his commanding officer, then-Captain Ben Marco, was knocked unconscious. Brokering the incident for political capital, Shaw eventually becomes a vice-presidential nominee, while Marco is haunted by dreams of what happened -- or didn't happen -- in Kuwait. As Marco (now a Major) investigates, the story begins to unravel, to the point where he questions if it happened at all. Is it possible the entire unit was kidnapped and brainwashed to believe Shaw is a war hero as part of a plot to seize the White House? Some very powerful people at Manchurian Global corporation appear desperate to stop him from finding out. Written by
The radio chatter audio near the end of the film as Ben returns to the beach is actually a recording of a Norfolk Southern train defect detector. If one listens carefully you can even hear it state, "NS (Norfolk Southern) detector milepost 79.8 one no defect." The actual detector likely reported 79.8 track one but the word track would spoil the illusion. It is interesting because these automatic reports only transmit two or three miles to inform the train crew of defects in their train. It is not likely they would be heard on a remote island. See more »
When Marco boards the Amtrak train from DC, the conductor announces the station stops in the incorrect order: Baltimore, Philadelphia, Wilmington, New York. Wilmington comes before Philadelphia. See more »
But... but when you smile... oh darling, when you smile, that's what I live for. When you smile.
[kisses his mouth]
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After achieving only so-so results in reworking an old classic with the timid "The Truth About Charlie," director Jonathan Demme confidently updates "The Manchurian Candidate." Here he prevents the viewer from being distracted into keeping active count of the differences between his film and the original; the viewer can relax and watch an "original" film from the beginning. Demme immediately establishes his own distinctive approach: Bring characterization to the foreground. The original was compelling mainly due to its novel and intricate plot, but the acting was no-frills. Demme and his actors -- Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Liev Schreiber (and even minor players like Jeffrey Wright) -- create characters that are fleshed-out and human. They are far from the chess pieces of the original and thus better draw us into the film, offering the viewer an emotional entry point and a rooting human interest from beginning to end. While not superior to the original -- conspiracies in of themselves simply have lost their ability to shock these days -- the new "Candidate" achieves its own success by being a rare thriller: one that is emotionally moving.
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