themanchuriancandidate

The Manchurian Candidate, is a 2004 American drama film based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Richard Condon, and a reimagining of the previous 1962 film.

The film stars Denzel Washington as Bennett Marco, a tenacious, virtuous soldier; Liev Schreiber as Raymond Shaw, a U.S. Representative from New York, manipulated into becoming a vice-presidential candidate; Jon Voight as Tom Jordan, a U.S. Senator and challenger for vice president and Meryl Streep as Eleanor Prentiss Shaw, also a senator and the manipulative, ruthless mother of Raymond Shaw.

Tina Sinatra was a co-producer of the film. Her father Frank Sinatra portrayed Marco in the original 1962 film and owned that film’s legal distribution rights into the late 1980s, never re-releasing it during that time. In the original, nationally released during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the premise was based on communists taking control; in this remake, big corporate influence serves as the ‘politically correct’ evil, a twist to maintain the 'Manchurian connection’. The remake does not follow the original film’s plot details on several occasions.

What a hot mess this thing is — the designer in me aches! There’s so much happening in this poster — good and bad — that it becomes extremely difficult to rank. On one hand, the title typography and the accompanying political pin / playing card image is astonishing — the perfect distillation of the film, and one of incredible graphic power. On the other hand is just about everything else: the silly tagline, the crushing / crowding weight of the stars’ names, and the confusing illustrations at the top. Here’s a poster that could have been one of the all-time greats, but the studio couldn’t leave it alone.

Pretty much disagreed with everything said here (from Where Danger Lives). Let’s go through it, shall we?

1) I don’t like the “playing card pin"—it looks like a shoddy-drawn shape, and the image is not compelling enough; 2) I love the complicated illustration up top, with its hidden details and edgy and raw vibe; 3) the cast list is a good contrast (and adds necessary weight) to the bottom half of the composition. The only thing I agree with the quote above is the "silly tagline"—not so much because of its design but because of its content (makes absolutely no sense). 

The reason why I love this (and why Where Danger Lives hates this) is that all the elements reveal a complicated collision and intertwining of lives that is befitting of not only the iconic movie but the theme of political intrigue itself. Being able to convey all of that raw energy in a fairly simplistic design—the meaningful color palette notwithstanding—is pretty remarkable.