The Manchurian Candidate

Released 2004


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Movie Summary

Jonathan Demme
The Manchurian Candidate stars Academy Award winner Denzel Washington as Captain Ben Marco, a veteran of the first Gulf War. Marco's (Washington) unit gained some fame during the war when the actions of one brave soldier, Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber), saved the unit from a violent ambush. After the war, Shaw transitioned into politics, following in the footsteps of his mother, Senator Eleanor Shaw (Meryl Streep). The war hero is now the vice-presidential nominee, while Ben Marco returned from the war a very different man, haunted by strange dreams of the attack. Marco is visited by Corporal Al Melvin (Jeffrey Wright), who tells him he's also having strange dreams of the unit in a warehouse. Both men were knocked unconscious during the attack and only know what they have been told about Shaw's heroism in rescuing his unit. Is it possible the attack never even happened? Could the entire unit have been brainwashed? Meryl Streep gives one of the finest performances of her career in this film and was nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Supporting Actress category.moreless


Metacritic Score

  • 100

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    The strength of sensational material joined to excellent acting, superior filmmaking and uncanny political relevance has made The Manchurian Candidate into exceptionally intelligen...

  • 90

    The New York Times Dana Stevens

    A political thriller that manages to be at once silly and clever, buoyantly satirical and sneakily disturbing, but he (Demme) has recovered some of the lightness and sureness of to...

  • 90

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    Structurally and thematically similar to John Frankenheimer's original but entirely different in style, feel and nuance, this political thriller about a brainwashed soldier being p...

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cult brainwashing, corrupt politics, corporate secrets, assassination, extraordinary situations