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Monday, November 08, 2004

Manchurian Candidate

When friends had earlier told me that they had got the old version of this film out on video and watched it before seeing the latest version, I was bemused. But now I think that would be a good idea. I can't see how The Manchurian Candidate is so highly rated. The plotline was obvious, the characters were pretty well stock figures, and visually it relied on the large screen to carry it. (Just imagine watching that on your telly at home, complete with commercials. It would be dull and slight.) Maybe the earlier version was more believable, had more credibility. The version I saw last night employed stock Hollywood tricks and techniques - trouble was, none of them were new or put in another order so as to jar us into paying attention ... There's a sheet of paper somewhere in my files which has the Twelve Commandments of the Screenwriter on it: I bet this film answered them all. It's a formula, a well-worn cliched formula.

I'd liked to have seen the money put into this film put to better use.

Where is Fellini when we need him? How about if Spike Lee had directed this lot? :-)

And of course they used those wooden figures as star attractions. The only one who had any impact on me was Meryl Streep. Oh, and the manic guy who had lost his marbles (but, had he? Sinister music here ...). For me, the actors are the least important aspect of judging a film - the characters they portray are the main game. And here they were predictable and dull.

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