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
Apparently, FBI surveillance cameras come complete with big red record lights, and FBI undercover agents are not wired remotely. Instead they carry dictaphones, mark up the tapes clearly with the target's name, then keep them in their handbags, which they leave lying around while they sleep. See more »
Set against the Cold War and our fear of Communist infiltration, the original Manchurian Candidate(1963) revealed a significant universal theme: the misuse of power through the exploitation of paranoia and allegiance. The same theme, unfortunately, rings just as true today. Yes, the Berlin Wall has crumbled, but now we are a nation frozen with the fear of terrorist infiltration, vulnerable to the misuse of corporate and governmental powers.
The writers made believable, relevant changes to every aspect of the original story that would seem dated today, including the role of women. Rather than Janet Leigh's thankless role of arbitrary girlfriend, her counterpart in this movie is an FBI agent, as strong and significant as any of the men in the film. In the original, Raymond's mother (Angela Lansbury) worked through her husband, (how else could a woman have access to power in 1963?) Meryl Streep's Mother Shaw doesn't need to work through her man; she has direct power as a vicious, Machiavelian senator. Viewers who remember the original may pine for the chill they felt watching Lansbury's portrayal; the concept of a woman who seeks and controls power is just not shocking today. However, Streep is amazing, and I guarantee one scene between her and Shaw will raise the hairs on the back of your neck.
Mind control is made more relevant in the newer version as it is linked to "bad science," a current fear in an age of cloning, and genetic engineering.
However, the movie is still a psychological thriller and the manipulation of good men through fear and misplaced allegiance (especially to dear old mom) is as chilling as in the original.
Both movies are a cry to each of us to take control of our lives, our decisions, our futures. The hero as independent thinker runs true in both movies, spelled out in no uncertain terms in Marco (Denzel Washington's) last inner monologue about the Congressional Medal of Honor. The audience realizes as does Marco, the legitimacy of the medal in question, and exactly what it means to be a hero.
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