I’m taking a look at The Manchurian Candidate (2004) as my next Denzel Washington film. The film is based upon Richard Condon’s 1959 novel of the same name. There’s also a 1962 film version starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh and Angela Lansbury. I’ve not seen that version so can’t comment on which film version is the definitive one but Denzel’s is a sensational and engrossing adaptation of the novel. With all of that said let’s dive on in to it, so without further ado here’s my The Manchurian Candidate blu-ray review.
- The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
- Genre: Thriller
- Directed by Jonathan Demme
- UK Rating 15
- Discs: 1
- Released By Paramount
- Blu-ray Released: 19 January 2009
Major Ben Marco (Denzel Washington) is in charge of a reconnaissance unit with the US Army in Kuwait in 1991. However the unit finds itself ambushed with Major Marco losing conscience. However once rescued all of the men including the Major recommend Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber) for the Medal of Honor for single handily taking on and defeating the enemy.
Following the award of the Medal of Honor Shaw goes into politics backed heavily by his mother and fellow Senator, Eleanor Prentiss Shaw (Meryl Streep). In fact it seems he’s on a meteoric rise to becoming vice president. However the rest of the men from his former Army unit are not fairing quite so well with many of them reporting strange dreams about the heroic incident including Major Marco. Something is not ringing true everyone seems to be having the exact same dream and Ben Marco thinks there’s some sort of conspiracy and is determined to find out what really happen to his unit.
The films directed by Jonathan Demme whilst the cinematography is handled by Tak Fujimoto. It’s a well made fast flowing movie that never lets up.
Music / Audio Effects
The music score is composed by Rachel Portman is functional relying more on certain songs to strike the emotional highs and lows.
Acting / Characters
First off I have to comment on the level of acting, it’s exceptionally good with the three main characters played by Washington, Streep and Schreiber being the pick of the actors. Then add in Jon Voight, Kimberly Elise and Vera Farmiga and you know the acting’s not going to be a problem.
Washington really has to be at the top of his game as his character struggles with knowing what’s real and which memories have been manipulated. He thinks his issues are down to gulf war syndrome only to realise he’s actually part of an elaborate conspiracy that includes politicians and mega corporations.
Too be fair Schreiber as Sergeant/Congressman Raymond Shaw also has a tough job as he also struggles with his public image whilst knowing all is not well in his own mind.
Meryl Streep on the other hand is a woman very much in control as Senator Eleanor Prentiss Shaw. She is determined to have her own way and that includes making her son Vice President by any means necessary.
- Denzel Washington as Major Bennett Marco
- Meryl Streep as Senator Eleanor Prentiss Shaw
- Liev Schreiber as Congressman Raymond Prentiss Shaw
- Kimberly Elise as Eugenie Rose
- Jon Voight as Senator Thomas Jordan
- Vera Farmiga as Jocelyn Jordan
- Jeffrey Wright as CPL Al Melvin
- Simon McBurney as Dr. Atticus Noyle
- Bruno Ganz as Delp
- Ann Dowd as Congresswoman Beckett
- Ted Levine as Colonel Howard
- Miguel Ferrer as Colonel Garret
- Dean Stockwell as Mark Whiting
- Charles Napier as General Sloan
- Jude Ciccolella as David Donovan
- Tom Stechschulte as Governor Robert “Bob” Arthur
- Pablo Schreiber as PFC Eddie Ingram
- Anthony Mackie as PFC Robert Baker III
- Robyn Hitchcock as Laurence Tokar
- Obba Babatundé as Senator Wells
- Željko Ivanek as Vaughn Utly
- John Bedford Lloyd as Jay “J.B.” Johnston
Conclusion: The Manchurian Candidate (2004) Film Review
The Manchurian Candidate is an engrossing and brilliant political conspiracy thriller that has to be seen. The acting is on another level with Washington, Streep and Schreiber all producing superb performances.
In short this is without a doubt a must see film and one I cannot recommend highly enough.
If you enjoyed my The Manchurian Candidate blu-ray review so far you may want to check out the following films:
Conclusion: The Manchurian Candidate Blu-ray Review
The picture quality for the most part is very good but there were the occasional tiny marks that appear but nothing that really interferes with the overall enjoyment. I’m probably being a little nitpicky but nevertheless the image could be a little better.
On the extras side there’s a fairly comprehensive set that provides enough insight into the story and making of the movie.
- Audio Commentary from Director Jonathan Demme
- The Enemy Within: Inside The Manchurian Candidate
- The Cast of The Manchurian Candidate
- Deleted & Extended Scenes
- Liev Schreiber Screen Test
- Polictial Pundits
- Theatrical Trailer
On to my movie rating for The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
- Movie Rating: MUST SEE
- Blu-ray Picture: GOOD
- Extras: EXCELLENT
Amazon UK Links
The Manchurian Candidate (2004) is available now on blu-ray.
For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster…
Clip may not representative of the blu-ray version
That’s The Manchurian Candidate blu-ray review, I’m aiming to review at least one Denzel Washington film a week. What’s next? You will need to check back soon…
Note: The Amazon links on this page are affiliate / associate links. By buying through the links we may receive a commission for the sale. This has no effect on the price you pay.
Summary: The Manchurian Candidate (2004) Blu-ray Review
Movie title: The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
Duration: 130 mins
Director(s): Jonathan Demme
Actor(s): Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Liev Schreiber, Jon Voight, Kimberly Elise, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright, Simon McBurney
- Movie Rating
- Blu-ray Picture Rating
Washington, Streep & Schreiber are all sensational as is the totally engrossing conspiracy storyline.
- Excellent Cast
- Gripping Story
- Picture Quality Not A1