The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

Is this your life? Look closely… it might not be real after all!

the-manchurian-candidate Paramount Pictures and Scott Rudin Productions in association with Clinica Estetico present…

From Richard Condon who wrote the novel in 1959, a political thriller that was first set on the big screen with the same title in 1962. A story that encompasses a descendant in a family of politicians who was enlightened to be the next Vice-President of the United States. Backed up in his political campaign by a massive international organization named the Manchurian Global, they embark on providing funds for inhumane activities that will shape the world forever!

Tina Sinatra, daughter of the late “Ol’ Blue Eyes” Frank Sinatra who starred in the original film is the current Producer for the 2004 screen adaptation. Casting by Kathleen Chopin (Arlington Road) and Laura Rosenthal (Chicago) was dead spot on in choosing the best talent for the project! An outstanding performance from the cast delivering a very thought provoking agenda set out to overthrow leaders of nations and impose a “one world” government!

The premise was revised in order to give a current setting to let the viewers appreciate it more! Technically, Manchuria was a place in Northern China and in the borders of Russia which both countries were trying to claim; even Japan once participated in the struggle for its ownership. In the first film, they used the region as ground zero for the plot while in the second; they just made it as a corrupted firm instead.

Academy Award Winner Director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) his work gives emphasis on the eccentricity of dilemmas brought forth in dire situations. His direction immerses the viewers to be confined on that same situation and let’s it grab you like a stalker in a dark alley that won’t let go! I like the way they work on the on-going voices in the background whether coming from reporters, guests and from the television, somehow it provides the necessary dire conflicts of the subject matter at hand where paranoia and conspiracy circles the plot!

The Director and Cinematographer Tak Fujimoto (Signs) had worked together since 1974 and the latter still provides unprecedented support in the mood of the film by helping the storytelling ascend itself from the perspective of the character and their situation. On the side note, what is it with films panning in at buildings or structures that resemble obelisks and pyramids? In another angle, Screenwriters Daniel Pyne (The Sum of All Fears) and Dean Georgaris (Paycheck) creates a wonderful piece, both as vivid and blunt as he sees how immensely they instil the detesting relationships of each character to give it more controversy.

Meryl Streep (The Bridges of Madison County) is the manipulative Senator Eleanor “Prentiss” Shaw is so profound so staggering in the way she delivers her character. A two time Academy Award Winner, considered as one of the prolific actresses of all time. Her journey in life was stopped short by the death of her husband and seeks to continue her domineering presence in the political arena by sending her only son to be the game changer in American history!

Liev Schreiber (Kate & Leopold) a war hero and current Congressman Raymond Shaw running for the Vice-Presidential bid, with a clearly distinct stern voice and acting prowess, he does provide a palpable performance. It is just funny to think how these “pretentious” candidates can project a “sheepish” exterior, an outlook backed up by profound words with noblest intentions which just makes you get on with the show and see how it ends. He rejoins work with Denzel from their movie “The Hurricane”, Liev is absolute charisma on screen as media dictates!

Another two time Academy Award Winner Denzel Washington (Pelican Brief) is portrayed by      Maj. Ben Marco being a soldier supports that integrity in his persona that pushes it to someone or somebody that needs to do the right thing which is perfect! To add, that embodies Denzel he has this look of a man constantly doing whatever it takes to save lives without hesitation nor regret!

Supporting casts such as Jeffrey Wright (Lady in the Water) as Cpl. Al Melvin of the Operation Desert Storm troops under the command of then Capt. Ben Marco gives an exemplary take on a soldier torn away little by little everyday from what actually happened in the Gulf War and in his dreams! While Jon Voight (The Rainmaker) Senator Thomas Jordan is the de-facto leading Senator for the same position as Raymond, their rivalry is evidently more directed to the opposition’s mother’s constant prying and Vera Farmiga (Running Scared) is the daughter veteran Senator from New York Jocelyn Jordan, nothing compelling from her, I believe she was only placed to give Raymond a wider horizon in his predicament in life as a person in contrast to being a “sock puppet”.

The technology and scientific breakthroughs that were still intently elaborated vaguely was partially deliberate as it was supposed to help people become better but instead, it was used to damage lives including innocent people by using genomic configuration, implanting devices and drugs that are carefully researched to give the most efficient way of inducting tests into human subjects.

It is interesting to see and understand how all these things culminate in order to be relayed to the audience and not just make it a great movie experience but also give, shed some light to what’s really going on in reality. To be honest, all things are given due for their discovery and all is well-intended but the point is to make it plausible in giving subliminal tendencies to look into, it’s scary yes, but the truth is hindered from us so we can be happy and contended to what are brought in from the uncompromising societal norms these companies dictates especially in the United States and to the rest of the world!

The idea of letting people rule without contention as they see fit to have the world in their own hands whether killing millions of innocent people both literally and figuratively is an assertive understatement! It gives levity to a certain aim wherein these cues that are implanted in our lives, purports the intention of controlling the population like a hypnotic trance that turns them to their current state of nirvana and bliss just by a snap of a finger! To further add, the political campaigns and parties especially with the guests involved speak about very disturbing statements about people being lured to earthly escapism, luxuries and material things that hinder what they truly believe in and worse of all, they do this in the name of freedom and democracy!

The incident scene in the fog was absolutely intense as it gravitates also with the actual plot of the film with blurry precedence and shady manipulative people working to further mask the whole scheme and just showing what needs to be necessary! Above all, sacrificing oneself for the greater good of humanity is something benevolent nothing personal, but just doing the part to serve his country in the best of his ability! From here, the people will only know if you were a real hero or someone who is just being used to carry out their so–called “patriotic intentions”.

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