The Manchurian Candidate

This is my first attempt at a movie review. Ever. I don’t have a special rating system worked out (stars, grades, etc). I’d love some feedback on things that I could improve, add, change, ditch, etc because I want to keep doing this . . . I just love movies so much. So, yeah . . . enjoy!

The Manchurian Candidate


In my estimation, this movie is alright. It’s not the bet thing I’ve ever laid eyes on, but it entertained me. The best parts come from the characters and their development, not from the plot. Which, while intriguing and while drawing some interesting parallels to our modern terror-stricken world, was a bit rushed.

In the beginning you see an army unit in Kuwait during Desert Storm on a recon mission. Things get bad, there’s an ambush. Captain Ben Marco, played by Denzel Washington, is knocked unconscious and Sergeant Raymond Shaw, played by Liev Schreiber, saves the unit. The scene is loud and confused, like any good shot-em-up scene is and it’s consequences are revisited throughout the movie.

After this jaunt into the past, we get to see Shaw and Marco in the modern day. Marco is now a Major in the army. He’s haunted by dreams that he has of Kuwait, of three days his unit was lost in the desert. He avoids sleep. He becomes paranoid that his dream, his never changing dream, is actually a memory. Washington gives an outstanding performance, as usual. I immediately sympathized with his quest to unlock what was happening within himself, to understand what happened to his men. Marco isn’t out to change the world, he’s out to discover truths about himself.

Meanwhile, Sergeant Shaw has left the military to pursue a political career. His mother, Senator Eleanor Shaw, played by Meryl Streep, is determined to lead her son to the White House. Eleanor is ruthless, powerful, frightening in what she perceives to be the love of her country and son. Streep gives some wonderful speeches. You’ve probably seen most of my favorite one in commercials (you know, something like “A hero forged in the heat of the desert, in the dark.”). It’s very powerful in its entirety. But, damn, she is scary. Well, needless to say that Shaw gets the vice presidential nod and Eleanor is thrilled. I suppose this is a good time to mention that Schreiber is also extremely good in his role as Shaw. He’s the kind of candidate we all want. He wants to improve the country, help the lower and middle classes, and make America a happier place. And he’s got enough backbone to be defiant of his mommy. Or at least he tries really hard.

Enter Manchurian Global. Manchurian Global is this international conglomeration who does . . . well, I wasn’t really sure about what they did, but they have lots and lots of money, fund lots of important people- including Eleanor- and are sinister. Go figure. Shaw doesn’t want to be involved with them, Eleanor doesn’t seem to care what Shaw wants all that much, and Marco starts to put things together, though for most of the movie his ideas are all conjecture and dreamstuff.

I wish they’d given a little more information on Manchurian Global before they made them the obvious villain (too evil, too fast). I also wish they would’ve kept more of Marco’s and Shaw’s pasts a secret until later in the movie. Also, if I were seeing the movie again, knowing what I know now, I’d pay special attention to the relationship between Shaw and Eleanor. I think I must’ve missed something early on that came up again later. But, maybe I didn’t.

5 Responses to “The Manchurian Candidate”

I like the review!

Sounds like Manchurian Candidate might be good to rent (I would like to see Streep’s chilling speeches), but not too box-office worthy.

So, what will next week’s offering be? Also, do you and Gilvoro have movie watcher passes yet? I only ask because I think you’d save quite a bit of cash.

Paradoxdruid - August 8th, 2004 at 1:56 pm

Hey whats up with this post?

Gilvoro - August 8th, 2004 at 9:35 pm

Hmm . . . we should get movie pass. Matt-From-Work thinks that we should get a NetFlix membership, too.

Next week will be Alien vs. Predator, probably . . . which I’m not expecting to be phenomenal, just enertaining. And, to elaborate on Gilvoro’s inquiry, why would the post be completely stricken through even though I never gave it the command? (Note: I fixed it, somehow, but I’m not sure how the problem began).

ShortSpeedFreak - August 9th, 2004 at 3:23 pm

Matt says that Netflix is about $20 a month. And you can have up to 3 movies at a time. And they have really, really good turn-around to get new movies out to you. He said that if you sent back a movie on Monday with a new request, you’d have your new request by Wednesday. Seems like a good deal. But Gilvoro and I are way too into our TV shows right now to think about NetFlix, I think. 🙂

ShortSpeedFreak - August 10th, 2004 at 12:14 pm

Actually, I’ve been considering a Netflix membership, too. It’s a great concept, I think– I just need to look into the pricing.

I can’t wait for AvP! >-) It’ll be mindless, but so much fun.

Regarding the stricken-business: Not a clue. Glad it got fixed, though. *shrugs*

Paradoxdruid - August 10th, 2004 at 1:41 am

Leave a Response (or trackback on your own site)

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Welcome to Paradoxdruid's Rants... a community based webblog. Feel free to snag an account and post.

Contributors Login


My first first-author paper!

Just wanted to share that my first first-author paper is now online! In the journal Stem Cells and Development, here’s my paper on “Roles of Integrins in Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Growth on Matrigel and Vitronectin.”

The Future of Scientific Publishing

Just read a fascinating (if lengthy) essay on disruptive technology and the future of scientific publishing. Well worth the read!


Just wanted to share’s Visual Guide to Deflation, which is quite explanatory.

All Things Stem Cell

Hey all Paradoxdruid readers! I recently started up a blog on stem cells that I’d love you all to take a look at:

Barely Literate: The Fermata

I participated in another Barely literate book review podcast, this time on Nicholson Baker’s “The Fermata”. Give it a listen!

Time for Change

Obama has outlined a strategy for America, in great depth. Read all about!

Free Rice

Okay, I’ll admit that it’s entirely possible that I am the last person to learn about this website*, but it’s really addictive. 


Site best viewed in Mozilla Firefox. Site CSS template by Andrea Pitschmann. Banner photo by photocase.