Bennett Marco (Denzel Washinton) spends his days on the American election trail giving inspiring speeches about the heroics of Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber) who won the Medal of Honor for saving Marco's crew during an ambush in the Kuwaiti desert. But at night Marco is haunted by nightmares of the firefight that suggest a more sinister recount of events which suggests Shaw might not be the hero everyone thinks he is.
During the 1991 Gulf war, a platoon led by Major Ben Marco (Denzel Washington) and Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber) is ambushed and captured – supposedly by the enemy. Fast forward to the present, and Raymond Shaw is running for Vice President, shepherded by his ambitious mother Senator Eleanor Shaw (Meryl Streep). He's heralded as a war hero for having saved his platoon. But Major Marco is plagued by recurring nightmares in which Raymond is anything but a hero, and his attempts to solve the disparity leads him to a monumental conspiracy.
The film is stylish and well constructed with strong performances from an all star cast. Demme has intelligently updated The Manchurian Candidate, replacing the Cold War threat of Communism with the corporate thirst for the profits of war. And the Machiavellian nature of politics makes the theme as vital today as it ever was!