Manchurian Candidate, The (2004)

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3 1/2

Content: -1 1/2

This remake of a 1960s classic thriller will probably be a contender for this years Oscar nominations. Capt. Ben Marco (Denzel Washington), a veteran of Desert Storm, suffers from nightmares of an intense battle in Kuwait. Ben is sure that he and the men in his patrol were hypnotized to perform unspeakable deeds. Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber), now a puppet of his ambitious mother, Senator Eleanor Shaw (Meryl Streep), served under Ben in Desert Storm and received a Medal of Honor for his bravery. Eleanor has great aspirations for her son and goes to extremes to destroy anyone who tries to block her dream. Through her ruthless political efforts, Raymond becomes his partys choice for vice president in the upcoming election. Meanwhile, Bens search for truth leads him to Raymond and an evil network of continuing mind-control experiments The intense suspense and complex intrigue of The Manchurian Candidate demands viewers total concentration.

Flashbacks of the soldiers horrific battle, images of men suffocated, point-blank shootings, two homicidal drownings and a bloody assassination earn The Manchurian Candidate an R rating. Also difficult to watch is a needle injected into the skull of a conscious patient. And Raymond takes a knife and cuts out an electronic chip implanted in his shoulder. Though excessive, the violence is not gratuitous. The mental anguish of these veterans destroys their lives. They are over-medicated zombies who dont understand the demons within them. An underlying theme attacks the cold indifference of the corporate world seeking power through experiments that alter a persons ability to reason. There is no sex, but an incestuous relationship between Raymond and his mother is strongly implied. Foul language includes several profanities and obscenities. Preview cannot recommend this movie because of the frequency of graphic violence and foul language.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Paramount Pictures

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several (5) times strong (-ss 5)

Obscene Language: Several (5) times strong (f-word 1, s-word 4)

Profanity: Few (4) times moderate (MG 1); strong (GD 3)

Violence: Many times moderate (man digs imbedded electronic chip from his shoulder, man bites another on shoulder; point-blank shooting, needle injections into brain); strong (battle scene with bloody wounds and explosions, flashbacks of soldiers forced to kill their own, gory scene of two people assassinated, suffocation scene and prolonged view of two drownings)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times moderate (incest implied as mother strokes son and discourages his relationship with another woman)

Drugs: Many times mild (veterans overmedicated and hypnotized with mind-altering drugs)

Other: Corporate greed shows no respect for human life; money and power worshiped

Running Time: 130 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.