The General's Daughter (1999)

THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER commands one of the season's more disturbing 
sights:  a strangled woman, naked and spread-eagle on the ground, her 
hands and feet bound by four corners of rope and tent stakes.  Nary 
every of inch of exposed flesh is captured by the camera, save for a 
pelvic-area close-up.  The young woman, an Army Captain and the vic-
tim of an apparent rape, is also shown struggling against her bonds 
in flashback as well as starting to stiffen the morning after.  The 
gasp-inducing footage feels neither gratuitous nor glorified; its in-
clusion, however, is a curious surprise, given the current scrutiny 
of our post-Columbine pop culture.

The investigation of said act is the driving force behind Nelson De-
Mille's excellent 1992 military mystery-- a novel that also examines 
uniformed justice as well as gender issues in the service.  The film 
version, with a screenplay credited to Christopher Bertolini and Wil-
liam Goldman, adds action-- most of it pointless-- and alters a cou-
ple key character resolutions.  (And poorly altered at that, I might 
add.)  The plot is still as complicated as all get-out and I have ab-
solutely no idea how well non-readers will fare, though the one-two 
punch of sleaze and star power should keep most folks watching.  

The big, pretty, and obviously paid-well cast includes John Travolta, 
Madeline Stowe, Timothy Hutton, James Cromwell, Clarence Thomas III, 
and, once again, a scene-stealing James Woods.  (Really, is there 
anything better than a juicy James Woods supporting role?)  Quick-
cutting Michael Bay-wannabe Simon West, director of the far, far, 
far, far, far, far crappier CON AIR, has a good eye for good visuals.  
Eh, if nothing else, the blockbuster wannabe looks like the block-
buster it wants to be.  As for whether or not it excels to the level 
that the source material does, I'll leave that call to someone who 
was actually *entertained*.  I entered curious and left bored...  
(Rated "R"/120 min.)

Grade: C 

Copyright 1999 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: Read 'Em and Weep.

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