In the 60’s, most of the grand American movies had two types of villains – either the aliens or the Russians. The Manchurian Candidate is thankfully about the latter. It deals with a plot which oddly seemed genius and vacuous at the same time, that one part of you wants to fully immerse yourself in this thrilling tale while the other parts of you yearns to find holes in this script and finds them, only to disregard them later, for this is too much off a fun movie.
It deals with the concept of brainwashing (or dry cleaning of the mind, as it is referred to in the movie) where a trigger makes a man subject to the will of his operator. On the surface this idea does look doltish, but so does a man falling in love with his operating system. But, what makes these movies classics is the fact that everyone seems convinced of this idea. That enough evidence is put forth so as to make it believable.
The Manchurian Candidate has the structure of a Hitchcockian movie, thronged with twists and beautiful women, and to no surprise considering how obtrusive the novel from which it was adapted was, in terms of sensuality. To be honest, it seems like the only fallacy in this movie, and a very major one considering how large an influence it has on the movie, that none of the romances here are chalked up, particularly the one concerning Janet Leigh.
Yet, if we look beyond that, this is a really intelligent movie, in its own way, a kind of a science-fiction. There is a cracker of a concept here, and the makers do construct a plot which does make the viewer be on the edge of his seat. Considering the age in which the movie was made, there is exceptional professionalism maintained in preventing this movie from going over-the-top.
In this era, I do not think the concept and treatment of The Manchurian Candidate holds up much, but that clearly did not deter Hollywood from coming up with a needless remake, however, by considering the time when it hit the screens, it affirms that it was an explosive movie which clearly took sides, instead of the movies nowadays which are like pups wanting to be petted by everyone. The Manchurian Candidate is hell of a fun movie. Thrilling, yes, but not a great one. However, I wouldn’t mind recommending it to anyone who cares.
RATING : 7.8 / 10
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