Movie: The Manchurian Candidate

The Manchurian Candidate
Length: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: 2004-07-30
Cast: Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, Meryl Streep, Kimberly Elise, John Voight
Director: Jonathan Demmi
Screenwriter: Daniel Pyne, Dean Georgaris, George Axelrod
WorkNameSort: The Manchurian Candidate
Our Rating: 2.50

The only good reason to remake a movie as historically significant as 1962's The Manchurian Candidate is to comment on the conspiracy culture that's formed since that film became a footnote to tragedy. It's an agenda this lumbering retread gets around to for about five minutes; the rest of the time, director Jonathan Demme merely exploits our 21st-century national insecurity while hoping that the results conform at least peripherally to opening-weekend headlines.

Strained stabs at relevance mark the story of Ben Marco (Denzel Washington), a Gulf War veteran who suspects that the most decorated man (Liev Schreiber) in his unit is now the pawn of insidious forces. The same scenarios of political conventioneering and maternal connivance remain from the original, though many of the story's specifics have been rejiggered. Schreiber's heart-rending performance as the guilt-wracked dupe is the most affecting aspect of a movie that's not only unnecessary but distressingly inactive and prone to the preposterous: In some sort of low for cineplex intrigue, a Google search is submitted as a major dramatic development. Watch for Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible III: Just Ask Jeeves, coming next summer to an illegal downloading station near you.


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.