The Manchurian Candidate

The Manchurian Candidate is an update of 1962 thriller starring Frank Sinatra. The 1962 film was based on the Korean War and its release was delayed because of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The major difference is that while the 1962 film was titled after a geographic area where a battle is fought to stop the spread of communism, the 2004 film introduces Manchurian Global, a company with "more assets than the European Union." Like the 1962 version, the 2004 version has a cast of great actors that define the movie:

  • Denzel Washington stars as Major Bennett E. Marco, Captain of the famous lost patrol unit of the Gulf War. His Army unit was ambushed and lost for three days during the war, saved by heroic acts of Sergeant Raymond Shaw, the millionaire Harvard Honors graduate who enlisted in the Army, refusing the officerís commission to which he was entitled. Two soldiers of the unit died in the ambush and a civilian contractor disappeared, never to be seen again. When Captain Marco was injured Raymond almost singled handedly overpowered the attackers and led the Army patrol back to safety, after 3 unaccountable days. What Major Marco recalls of his ambush and escape is exactly what all the survivors of his unit recall . . . word for word. But when he dreams, the nightmares of his captivity reveal a different story; and this story is more real than the life he lives. In these dreams he and Raymond are neither heroes nor leaders of the men in their charge.
  • Meryl Streep stars as Senator Eleanor Prentiss Shaw. She has longed for power all her life. After marrying power she succeeded in capturing the Senatorial seat of her deceased husband, the late Senator John Shaw, and has held onto this seat until this approaching moment when she can usurp the power of the President through her son, Raymond. (Rumor had it that Merl Streep was to be nominated for the Oscar for her performance in this psychological thriller, but someone mishandled the nomination formĖ a real tragedy as this is an award-winning role and performance.)
  • Liev Schreiber as Congressman Raymond Prentiss Shaw, and eventually as Vice President Elect. Raymond publicly repudiates many of his motherís more controversial policy positions. His enlistment in the Army was almost an act of defiance against the Senator that is somehow endearing to voters-- a war hero with heart and conscious. Raymond is cut from the right cloth for the role for which his mother aspires for him. Yet he is viewed as a man of the people, one who suffered with the troops during war rather than read and reason about courage from afar. He has genuine concern for the less fortunate, and they sense it. But Raymond was brain-washed during those famous lost days, not any different than the other men of his patrol unit, but because of his station in life, more effectively.
  • Jon Voight as Senator Thomas Jordan, the man who would be vice president were it not for Raymondís candidacy and the determined Senator Shaw. Unlike Senator Shaw and the others of her party who retain power by the threat of Americaís enemies, Senator Jordan sees a danger within. He argues a different course than those who would erode our individual freedoms in the name of national security. And to his misfortune he has allowed Major Marco to share with him his nagging concerns about what really happened in the Gulf.  Armed with a new hope for the vice presidency, Senator Jordan proposes to Raymond and his mother that Raymond withdraw his name from consideration until such time as a Congressional investigation can determine what really happened to the famous Lost Patrol.

We know that in politics things are often different than they seem. But The Manchurian Candidate takes the unreality of things a bit further. Sometimes there are elaborate workings to mask what is real. In Major Marcoís case the nightmare that seemed more real than life was really the truth fighting to surface through an elaborate dream. And of course there is a Scriptural nexus . . 

      Satan has established an elaborate dream that the unsuspecting call life. For them, for some of us, this life is not lived in accordance with Scripture, with all receiving the salvation paid for by Jesusí sacrifice on the cross. The benefits or fruit of His sacrifice are described in the book of Isaiah, 53:4-5 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. {5} But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.   

But still carrying griefs and sorrows, stricken, wounded and bruised with no peace or healing,  many labor within the proffered unreality that Isaiah 53: 4-5 is not for us and that if at any time Believers enjoyed health and prosperity, that time has passed. The truth beneath the dream is that Isaiah 53: 4-5 means exactly what it says. "But what about everyday occurrences of illness and poverty within the Church" you say? The things we see and feel have no bearing on Godís Word. Godís Word is Truth regardless of our circumstances. And I know you believe it because you are reading this. And despite our beliefs, many have chosen not to challenge Satanís dream.

Granted, holding to and standing on Godís word is not easy for those of us raised under this worldly system ruled by Satan. But ". . greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."--> 1 John 4:4.  By the shed blood of Christ we have been empowered to live above Satanís system.

We should no longer be treated as we were without Christ -- aliens and  strangers from His covenant, without God in the world, Ephesians 2:12 KJV. He lives in our world through us, as much as we allow Him. The Gift of Christ can be real in our lives, but it takes our determination to declare it against all circumstances.

(Philippians 4:19 KJV) But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

(Colossians 1:27 KJV) To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: