Review - Anthony Hargan
The Manchurian Candidate
WARNING - some spoiler information below.
I went to see the Manchurian Candidate over the weekend and I have to say that the movie was quite stunning, both in its nuggets of truth (as far as we have been able to figure out) and its incredible twists of disinformation. I never saw the older, original version of this movie but I did read about the premise some time ago.
For a very short synopsis here for those who might not be familiar with the premise, the movie is about a small group of soldiers. One of the soldiers is the son of a rich Senator. This particular group of soldiers ends up in Kuwait sometime just before Desert Storm and they are ambushed badly by "the enemy", except that the ambush never actually took place but instead the soldiers were carted off to some godforsaken little hideout in the desert where high-tech mind alterations were perpetrated on them. The ambush was just a screen memory to cover up what actually took place. Part of this screen memory involved making the Senator's son a war hero so that he would receive the Medal of Honor and this would set the stage for his later political career where he would eventually become the Vice President Elect. This whole plot is perpetrated by a large corporation called Manchuria and their goal is to put someone in the Whitehouse who is firmly under their thumb through mind control. The leader of that unfortunate group of soldiers starts to put the pieces together and begins to unravel the plot to his great danger.
One of the things I noticed right off the bat were the news reports in the movie. Of course, they told a different story than the "real" story of the movie which the viewers were privy to. What struck me was how remarkably similar the news stories and the story patterns were to real world news. Watching the movie, the viewers knew the "inside scoop", so we knew that the stories were bogus. In real life, of course, we don't know the "inside scoop" to real life stories, but the story patterns are virtually identical between the movie and the real world. This seems like a rather blatant way of telling people that what they see on the news in real life is often not the real story and that "covert" things happen all the time in the real world and are covered up with an "official" story. Yet I doubt many movie-goers will actually go that extra step to realize that things are this way in the real world. This demon-strates just how asleep the American public is. The PTB can tell us what they're doing right out in the open and most people will never connect the dots!
Another interesting moment came when the soldiers' leader, who is now a Major in the Army, is talking to the Senator's son towards the end of the movie on election day. Both know by this time in the movie that they've been tampered with and the nature of the tampering. The Major still holds out hope that they can work together to undo the plans of the people who tampered with them and he says some interesting things. He talks about going deep within themselves and finding that part which cannot be changed by anyone. He talks about not trusting their own minds but instead finding that part of themselves that is the real person behind the mind. The Senator's son's response is interesting. He says, "Don't you think they've already anticipated this discussion?" at which point the Senator's Son's phone rings and he hands the phone over to the Major who ends up getting "triggered" by some key words implanted previously to control the soldiers. Regardless of this last occurrence, however, I got the distinct impression that the movie makers were trying to convey the idea that the two men were trying to speak to each other on a level that could not be monitored or anticipated. Later events in the movie seemed to bear this idea out. I think this has special implications if we think about it in terms of our real status trapped inside the MCS.
The movie also made links between the CIA, rogue doctors specializing in mind control, known terrorists, and large corportations. The implications were that all were in bed together with the mind control doctors being the "hub" or nexus of connection.
Yet a fourth interesting concept was the idea of surgical implants used by the doctors and corporations. They never actually said what the implants were used for exactly, but at one point in the movie the Major pulls an implant out of the Senator's son and has it analyzed where it is determined that the implant is extremely sophisticated. News clips in the movie link the implant with more public versions and, of course, in the real world we are seeing the use of implants more and more.
And still a fifth point of interest involved the as-sas-s1na-t10n of the pres on election day so that the Senator's son could take up the mantle of supreme leadership of the country. The implication was that this sort of covert activity has happened many times throughout the history of the U.S. The Senator's son's mother (who was in on the whole plot and was also a Senator herself) even told her son at one point in the movie, "The assassin must always die."
As far as disinformation, I think the movie served as a sleep-aid in three very important ways. Number one, the premise of the movie is that politicians are not already firmly in the pockets of large corporations. In the movie, this had to be accomplished by putting a mind controlled candidate into the Whitehouse. With the exception of a couple, the politicians are mostly portrayed as champions of democracy who do not bow down to corporate interests and who believe religiously in the American Way. I think most Americans want to believe that things are precisely this way currently. I think the movie will serve to reassure most Americans that our politicians are basically incorruptible and that corporations do not presently have control of the government. Furthermore, it makes the case that corporations would have to resort to some chancy and exotic mind experimentation to have any real chance of gaining power over the political establishment. I think this movie represents what might have happened a long time ago in the real world, but the viewer is deceived because of the movie's contemporary setting.
Number two, "the feds" (aka the FBI and federal law enforcement) are portrayed as being the great defenders of democracy. They are portrayed as the "good guys" who end up helping the Major out of the goodness of their blue-blooded, patriotic hearts. It gives the viewer the impression that the "real" government is loaded with good guys who are ready to risk their lives and come to our rescue against the greedy and power hungry corporate baddies. Of course, we have a different idea about the state of things in the real world.
And number three, the idea that the good guys can actually win. The Major and his buddies, the feds, end up saving the day and bringing the corporate bad guys down in ruins. This ensures that the movie viewers will leave the theatre with that warm feeling that democracy is safe afterall and all is right with the world thanks to the defenders of freedom. Go back to sleep,... forget everything you've just seen and heard... it was all a bad dream...
One very interesting (and slightly annoying) aspect of the movie were the sounds. Many sounds were used together to create a disturbing dissonance in the viewer/listener. Possibly the movie makers intended this dissonance to represent the dissonance that the characters were feeling between what they remembered and what actually happened. I took it as more representative of the cognitive dissonance that the movie will likely engender in the audience.