The Manchurian Candidate
Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Live Schreiber, Jon Voight, Jeffrey Wright
An up-dated remake of the classic Cold War drama, this time to the aftermath of the first Gulf War; and equally excellent.
The original, made in l962, starred Frank Sinatra, who subsequently owned the rights to the novel. This new version is produced by his daughter, Tina.
The theme of the 2004 Candidate is still one of paranoia in the power politics of Washington as a soldier (Schrieber) saves the lives of several members and becomes a war hero; to be manipulated by cynical forces into the Vice Presidency.
The star of the film is, as you would expect, the magical Meryl - already being talked up as an Oscar contender - who plays the Senator mother of the would-be candidate. Streep is the mother of all mothers, awful, pushy, and utterly determined for her son to succeed, at any cost. It is a scene-stealing, scene-chewing performance, laced with evil and humour.
The film itself is a stylish and telling examination of politics at their least savoury, full of double-deals, betrayal and exploitation. And Demme has brought us a film to thoroughly enjoy.