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The Manchurian Candidate

Senator Eleanor Shaw (Meryl Streep) allowed her main political contributor, the Manchurian Global corporation, to kidnap and implant microchips in her son Raymond (Liev Schreiber) and the rest of Bennett Marco’s (Denzel Washington’s) squad in 1991, to forward her eventual goal of placing Raymond in the Oval Office. Manchurian participated because their goal was to have a puppet-President to keep xenophobia and paranoia high, making sure that America would always be “fighting terrorism” on as many fronts as possible, thus ensuring them a steady revenue stream. Manchurian and Senator Shaw used all of the tools at their disposal to get Raymond on the ticket as the Vice-Presidential candidate. On election day, it appears that Raymond’s chilling doctrine of “compassionate vigilance” has won over the voters, and that the ticket of Robert Arthur (Tom Stechschulte) and Raymond Shaw will win the election. Raymond and Marco come to realize that their thoughts and personalities are being controlled, but it’s too late; just as they begin to formulate a plan to fight back, Manchurian activates Marco’s program to assassinate President-elect Arthur, getting Raymond to the White House as quickly as possible. (This assassination would look like Marco was attempting to kill Shaw, based on extensive records showing that Marco had been stalking Raymond Shaw for quite some time.) After a monumental internal struggle, Raymond is able to overcome his programming, and step between Arthur (on stage) and Marco (hidden, with a sniper rifle). This “snaps” Marco’s conditioning as well, and he fires a single bullet that kills both Raymond and his mother. Seconds later, Federal agent Rosie (Kimberly Elise) finds Marco, and stops him from killing himself. In one epilogue, Federal agents, including Rosie and Military Intelligence’s Colonel Garrett (Miguel Ferrer) are seen digitally removing Marco’s image from security videos, and replacing him with a known Manchurian mercenary. Revelation of some truths, when combined with this falsified evidence, appears to guarantee the downfall of Manchurian, making democracy in America more secure. In a second epilogue, Marco returns to Kuwait, where he puts the ghosts of his past to rest.

Roger Corman watch: he makes his cameo during the nominating Convention scene, as an elder statesman referred to as “Mr. Secretary.”