The Manchurian Candidate is a themed film that definitely succeeds at being a political thriller. Does it go above and beyond that? In certain ways, yes, but it’s not a bad film.
The first thing that struck me about this film is the cinematography. It’s almost Kubrick-like, the way the camera frames the shots and moves, and the stark colors that make it look nearly chiaroscuro. It’s very impressive. The beginning narration seems a little heavy-handed and expositional, but it gives a good conspiracy feel to the whole affair.
It’s in the middle that the film seems to sag a bit; most of what would’ve been revealed already has been, and the middle is mostly taken up by character interaction that seems more like stalling than actual development; it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. By the end it has definitely picked up again, and the film has a number of good curveballs to throw at you. The number one golden egg in the film is Angela Lansbury, who does a delightfully evil job at portraying the domineering mother of Shaw. She commands the screen whenever she is on it.
The advertising for the film aside, check this one out if you’re in the mood for some intrigue. That and Angela Lansbury definitely make this a film worth watching.
Arbitrary Rating: 8/10