The General's Daughter (1999) / Drama-Mystery
MPAA Rated: R for graphic images relating to sexual violence including a strong rape scene, some perverse sexuality, nudity and language
Running Time: 116 min.
Cast: John Travolta, Madeleine Stowe, James Cromwell, Timothy Hutton
Director: Simon West
Screenplay: Christopher Bertolini, William Goldman (based on the novel by Nelson DeMille)
Review published December 14, 1999
Based on the novel by Nelson DeMille. An army captain in the field of psychological operations, who also happens to be the daughter of the politically ambitious general of the base, is found murdered in a bizarre fashion and two Army CID investigators are sent in to uncover the whats and whys. Getting to the bottom of the case proves difficult, as the reputations of many military people are at stake and there is much in the subject matter of the investigation that people want to keep undiscovered.
The General's Daughter is a slickly-directed and competently-acted thriller that fails to be a good film due to the many similarities with other military whodunits (primarily A Few Good Men and Courage Under Fire) as well as heavy-handed political statements regarding the treatment of females in the military and the code of silence that is so pervasive.
The subject matter is darker than other similar films of its ilk, dealing with gang rapes, strangulation and kinky sexual acts that seem placed in the film in ways that titillate rather than educate. Keeping the film afloat are fine performances by Travolta (A Civil Action, Primary Colors) and Stowe (Twelve Monkeys, Short Cuts), who not only work well together but are also quite funny in their bantering relationship.
It's certainly watchable, but too much been-there-done-that and preachy qualities bog the film down to mediocrity.
©2000 Vince Leo