Same As It Ever Was

Jonathan Demme makes 'The Manchurian Candidate' familiarly modern

"I ain't no millionaire's son," Jean sneers over the opening shot of soldiers, skins of every hue, playing cards in a crowded vehicle, small in the Iraqi desert. All of them will be dead before the movie ends. At one point, a rogue scientist tells Marco that brainwashing requires no expensive technology: just electroshock and sleep deprivation. In other words: our constant media noise. A scene at a political convention shows a spectacle of music and video, the crowd orchestrated into a frenzy. Even the "good" guys manipulate image. How do we, the brainwashed, learn to distinguish between what is real and what is not? According to the cost, says Demme. And he's not talking about the cost in dollars.

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