THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER
Brenner has just finished an undercover gig at the Fort McCallum Army
base in Savannah, Georgia, when a young female captain is found dead. Apparently
raped and murdered, her body is naked and tied spread-eagle to the ground
with tent stakes. When he begins to investigate, soon joined by his ex-lover
and fellow agent Sarah Sunhill (Madeleine Stowe), he discovers that the
deceased is Captain Elisabeth Campbell (Leslie Stefanson), who worked at
the Army's Psy-Ops (Psychological Operations) department. She was the daughter
of famous General Joe Campbell (James Cromwell), who is just about to retire
and be nominated for vice president amid the accolades of his colleagues.
As Paul and Sarah uncover clues, however, they become more and more perplexed
by the situation. They find a secret hideaway behind a false wall in Elisabeth's
home, apparently an amateur movie studio where she and other soldiers made
quasi-pornographic domination videos. Of some help is Elisabeth's apparent
closest friend, Psy-Ops commander Colonel Moore (James Woods). His relationship
to her leads Paul and Sarah to pin him as the most likely suspect (as perhaps
a jealous lover), but when they discover he is a homosexual, they feel differently.
Next thing you know, Moore is dead, and everyone seems overly anxious to
conclude that he murdered Elisabeth and then killed himself out of guilt.
But Paul smells a rat, and it ain't the Army rations.
Written by rookie Christopher Bertolini, with the help of veteran William Goldman (The Princess Bride), from the novel by Nelson DeMille, The General's Daughter is peppered with stereotypical Army psychopaths, melodramatic behavior, and unlikely circumstances. Intended as an exposé on the abuse faced by women in the military, it goes too far to be taken seriously. Not that atrocities have not been perpetrated against women (and men, too) in the armed forces, but it's the general's reaction to the rape of his daughter that I can't swallow. The film attempts to fool us into thinking this was a true story with a paragraph at the end telling us what happened to all the characters afterward and what consequences were faced. But if you wait a few more minutes, you'll see the familiar disclaimer: "All persons and events in this film are fictitious." No kidding. ***
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