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(3.5) "I have these dreams, sir."

  • Oct 2, 2005
  • by
Rating:
+3
On routine recon during Operation Desert Storm, Capt. Ben Marco (Denzel Washington) and his team, including Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber) mysteriously disappear for three days, but later Sgt. Shaw is awarded the Medal of Honor for saving the men, except for two unavoidable fatalities. Years later, Shaw is positioned to run for Vice-President of the United States, if his conniving mother, Senator Eleanor Shaw (Meryl Streep) has anything to say about it.

Ben Marco is deeply disturbed, far more than warranted by delayed stress reaction, haunted by nightmares and images of himself and Shaw in a clinical setting. The VA doctors can do nothing but medicate Marco, but when another soldier from their unit approaches with some of the same dreams and memories, Marco begins to wonder if something was done to his group during those three missing days in the Middle East.

Eventually, Marco contacts Shaw, but Shaw is unwilling to hear his fellow soldier out, in the
middle of his political campaign. Left to his own devices, Marco does his own research; he is being watched, but it is unclear who is doing the surveillance and why. Psychologically unmoored, Marco drifts along, occasionally jolted by recurring images and fragments of conversations. The momentum of a political campaign is contrasted with Marco's confusion. Urging Shaw to meet with him, Marco hopes they can unravel the dreams and the missing days. But Shaw remains emotionally unavailable, almost an automaton, at least the way Schreiber chooses to portray the candidate. Shaw: "Life is so bizarre, isn't it?" Marco: "Which one?"

As Shaw's mother, Eleanor Prentiss Shaw, Streep is smarmy and unctuous, a controlling matriarch unwilling to let her son out of her sight, directing his career and bullying anyone who opposes her agenda, chewing up the screen and all in her wake. There is one particularly disgusting scene between mother and son that leaves little to the imagination. Certainly, Streep doesn't look old enough to play Schreiber's mother, but maybe this character has something else in mind. Washington is larger onscreen than this role, plodding along in a fog, but determined to learn the truth.

The evil plot goes as planned... almost, but Raymond finally disappoints as the perfect son, the scheme set in motion during the Gulf War thwarted. Only in the movies. With media cooperation, the "assassin" is identified, but the plan is never exposed to a gullible public, glued to their television screens. A murky screenplay renders this film somewhat confusing. With its twisted psychological overtones, Jonathan Demme's version hasn't the dramatic punch of the original, which starred Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey and Angela Lansbury. Unfortunately, place and time are critical to this particular story. What isn't broken needn't be fixed in the first place. Luan Gaines/ 2005.

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About the reviewer
Luan Gaines ()
Ranked #109
An artist/writer, I have traveled the world, walked on the moon and learned the complicated language of humanity, the enormity of the universe... all through the written word. My first passport was a … more
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Remake of the 1962 film.

Starring Denzel Washington, Jeffrey Wright, Pablo Scchreiber, Anthony Mackie
Directed by Jonathon Demme
Writer:  George Axelrod, Richard Condon
2004

Product Description
Serving together in the Persian Gulf War, Captain Bennett Marco and Sgt. Raymond Shaw were part of a platoon of soldiers kidnapped and brainwashed. Ten years later, Shaw gears up for his vice presidential campaign while Marco eventually remembers being kidnapped and discovers Shaw's powerful mother played a big part in that scheme. Determined to reveal the truth behind everything, Marco must first convince Shaw that the brainwashing really happened.
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