Candidate [1972]

The Manchurian Candidate, a classic of paranoid cinema from the 1960s, gets a cunning update, rife with hot-topic references to corporate war profiteering and electronic voting machines. Major Ben Marco (Denzel Washington, Training Day) has been haunted by nightmares ever since a firefight during the first Gulf War--a battle in which he believes he was saved by the heroism of Sgt. Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber, Kate & Leopold). But Marco's nightmares suggest otherwise and drive him to investigate what happened, which may threaten Shaw's candidacy for vice-president. Meryl Streep plays Shaw's mother, a senior senator who manipulates everyone around her with an iron will and a sharp tongue. The Manchurian Candidate loses steam towards the end, but up until then director Jonathan Demme keeps the movie rolling fluidly, crafting some creepy paranoia of his own while Streep tears into everything in her path. --Bret Fetzer

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