DVD Manchurian Candidate [Blu-ray] (DVD 6281111),
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Manchurian Candidate [Blu-ray]

  • Blu-ray
  • 1 disc
  • Region 2 Europe+ (info)
  • Jonathan Demme updates the original 1962 John Frankenheimer classic with plenty of new paranoid twists: This time a sinister Halliburton-style corporation is behind the brainwashing of a Gulf War hero turned vice presidential nominee, Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber). Shaw's old unit commander Ben Marco (Denzel Washington) recommended him for the National Medal of Honor, though he can't remember exactly why, and his recurring nightmares drive him to uncover a massive conspiracy. Sinister forces at work include shifty-eyed bodyguards, a love interest with questionable motives (Kimberly Elise), and Raymond's domineering senator mother (Meryl Streep). Demme infuses the proceedings with enough paranoia and uncomfortable close-ups to rival his 1991 Oscar-winner, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. Layered sound, overlapping dialogue, and creepy cinematography by Tak Fujimoto (who also worked on LAMBS) further heighten the uneasiness. Demme regulars Roger Corman, Charles Napier, Paul Lazar, and Tracey Walter show up in bit parts as usual. Comedian Al Franken is a welcome face as a TV correspondent, and quirky indie rocker Robyn Hitchcock plays one of the brainwashing specialists. Needless to say, Denzel is superb. Streep is terrifying and hilarious as the maniacal Mrs. Shaw. As with the original (which focused on communist instead of terrorist fear-mongering), the events depicted here are doubly unsettling considering their uncanny resemblance to real-life politics at the time of this film's theatrical release.
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  • Credits
    Liev Schreiber, Meryl Streep, Mary Louise Streep, Denzel Washington, Jon Voight, Kimberly Elise, Jeffrey Wright, Ted Levine
  • Critic Reviews
    "[A] scary summer flick about mind control and corporate conspiracy."
    Entertainment Weekly

    "[A] strong and substantial work....[It] feels not just refreshingly vital but uncannily topical."
    Sight and Sound

    4 stars out of 5 -- "[W]ith the excellent Liev Schreiber cast as the political candidate whose past as a hero of the Gulf War isn't what it appears."
    Ultimate DVD

    "All hell breaks loose as Demme catches the audience in a vise of churning suspense and corrosive wit."
    Rolling Stone

    "[An] exceptionally intelligent entertainment and a high point of director Jonathan Demme's career."
    Los Angeles Times

    "Intelligent and engrossing....Demme's movie shares more of a kindred spirit with documentaries like FAHRENHEIT 9/11 than with its big-budget studio peers."
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