The famous original, from 1962, written by George Axelrod, from a Richard Condon novel, and directed by John Frankenheimer, was a satire of Cold War anxieties that cut both ways, attacking both the far right and the far left. Acidulous and brazenly absurd, the movie was a one-of-a-kind mainstream picture, with startling oddities that people talked about for years. This updated version, directed by Jonathan Demme, is doggedly, wretchedly earnest. A shadowy big company attempts to take over the White House by placing a computer chip in the brain of a war hero turned congressman (Liev Shreiber) who is under the control of his reactionary mother (Meryl Streep), a senator unaccountably made up to look like Hillary Clinton. What was satire of paranoia in the old movie has been turned into just plain paranoia. The bad memories of the hero (Denzel Washington), who suspects that the war hero is a fake, are accompanied by the conventional horror-film frights of painted faces, spooky doctors, and smokey, distorted cinematography. The movie is overwrought and unfocused, and there isnt a joke in it anywhere. The New Yorker
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The Manchurian Candidate.
For cinemas showing films in original language see Useful Numbers page 2.
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