Sunday, June 17, 2012


After long time I ended up watching something that made me wonder why on earth being a film buff I avoided something so mind-blowing from years. ‘The Manchurian candidate’ made by John Frankenheimer, is one hell of the most smartest and engaging thriller, perhaps more intensifying than the best that Hitchcock had ever made. It’s rare to find such a brilliant combination of personal and collective nightmare and political and psychological thrill in a single film done so brilliantly as in this masterpiece. Based upon a novel by Richard Condon and scripted by George Axelrod, the film is undoubtedly one of the most complex and intriguing political thriller ever made in Hollywood on the subject of cold war. But here is a psychologically subservient subplot too fixed between the protagonist son and his politically active mother.A strange recurring nightmare disturbing a bunch of soldiers returned from Korean war. Something is so fishy about the man who’s awarded Medal of Honor from the president of United States otherwise what is it that collectively disturbing the fellow officers on patrol. Here is a ticking cold war assignment triggered on psychological association with pack of cards, game of solitaire and the queen of diamonds, how brilliant!  

What’s most prominent part of the film is the way it unfolds the whole plot and narration to the audience intensifying the curiosity of what actually happen even though giving us enough clues repeatedly. The ambivalent or rather complicated characters juggling on screen with baffling plot progression and it comes with terrific performances of Frank Sinatra and Janet Leigh. Angela Lansbury and Laurence Harvey, both brilliantly cast as mother and son too. One can see the influence of French New Wave clearly in the way camera is used here, especially that 360 degree pan moving around a lady’s garden club meeting inexplicably transforming into communist brainwashing leading towards a terrific nightmare. The film is absolutely powerful experience with gripping script, stunning camera work and taut edge on the seat editing within its two hours duration without a moment of dull affair; this film has everything with ace on its sleeve.

I must eschew rating film like this. 

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