As the DNC winds down today, you might still have politics on the brain. Lucky for you and your closeted conspiracy theory leanings, Jonathan Demme's remake of the paranoid classic The Manchurian Candidate hits theaters today. Starring Denzel Washington in the Frank Sinatra role, as a former military man plagued with unsettling dreams about a nefarious political conspiracy, this production was one of the big local independent shoots from last summer.
The question regarding all remakes of course is, will it stand up to the original? While the 1962 version with Sinatra and Angela Landsbury directed by John Frankenheimer is good, it's very much a product of its moment. Infused with Communist paranoia, watching it today you can see how it must have been quite scary at the time, though now the dream sequence effects can seem sort of silly. All that "now we see the Red Army, now we don't" stuff gives Gothamist the giggles. And what's with the Queen of Hearts outfits? (*insert eye rolling here*)
This kind of movie then -- good but not great -- can be perfect material for a remake, updating the politics to our concerns of the day and inserting more believable modern technology to liven things up. We have high expectations for the new version and thus offer our reserved but hopeful recommendation for your weekend viewing schedule.