I’m very squeamish about spoilers. I usually don’t want to know much about a movie or show before I watch it — I don’t read reviews, and I avoid the messageboards and trivia sections of IMDb. The only thing I do as I pop in a DVD is note its score on Rotten Tomatoes (which rarely gives me any conclusive information anyway, since the critics are often absurdly cynical), and watch the movie’s trailer.
All I knew about The Manchurian Candidate before watching it tonight was it got 81% on RT, and featured acting giants Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep. When I checked it out from the library, I figured I was in for a somewhat formulaic political thriller…funny how little I actually knew! The movie was thrilling and political in scope, but it delved more into the psychological than anything else — is what we see, really what is – or are we victims to a manipulated reality? Washington plays Major Bennett Marco, who served during Desert Storm and experiences strange delusional dreams a decade after the war. He begins to decode the dreams and believes that he’s been brainwashed, and that his army squad-mate, who is running for Vice President (Liev Shrieber), might be similarly brainwashed. But by whom, and how? Is Marco delusional and suffering from Gulf War Syndrome, or is there something to this twisted plot that he’s concocted?
I think the acting generally was damned good – Streep played such a zealous politican, it was brilliant. She definitely channeled her role in Devil Wears Prada. I spotted loads of other B- and C-list actors, and on the whole was very captivated by the unraveling psychological thriller.