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Movie Review

The General's Daughter

MPAA Rating: R for graphic images relating to sexual violence including a strong rape scene, some perverse sexuality, nudity and language.

Reviewed by: Tim Emmerich

Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Mystery / Thriller
116 min.
Year of Release:

Starring: John Travolta, Madeleine Stowe, James Cromwell, Timothy Hutton, Clarence Williams III, Leslie Stefanson, James Woods / Director: Simon West

The daughter of a high-ranking Army official has been murdered. Army CID agents Warrant Officer Paul Brenner (John Travolta) and Warrant Officer Sara Sunhill (Madeleine Stowe) have been brought in to find the killer. This is no ordinary or simple criminal case. And to avoid further embarrassment, the General and the U.S. Army would prefer to have a short and decisive investigation. The investigators are reminded there are three ways of doing things: “The right way, the wrong way, and the Army way.”

How about the Christian way? That would be the right way. Unfortunately, “The General’s Daughter” chose to go the wrong route by including a large amount of over-the-top offensive material. While the subject matter dealt with does exist in the real world, we find ourselves looking for the balance between knowing it is there and actually viewing these despicable acts on screen. Besides outright full-frontal nudity shown in a gang-rape situation, there was perverse sexual activities viewed on a videotape along with their corresponding sexual devices on the set. Sex was used as a control tool. Gruesome murders add their bit as well, with plenty of bad language. Did I mention naked dead body? That should not be overlooked, as the film makers were determined to show a lot of them.

At the onset of “The General’s Daughter,” Brenner was asked what his alibi was that would convince prosecutors that he did not murder the General’s daughter. His response? “I couldn’t have killed her, I was busy killing someone else.” True. What a nice picture of our men and women in service. As could be argued for “G.I. Jane” as well, just how far stretching is a story like this?

The plot is thin and easily predictable. Yet there is a spin to it. Also included is the token homosexual character, though it may not be noticeable at first. To add tension, we learn that Sunhill and Brenner have been involved together in the past. Several celebrities appeared in “The General’s Daughter,” but were given relatively minor roles. Ironically, Hollywood will probably applaud “The General’s Daughter” as a work of art. My verdict? This is one to skip out on.

Viewer Comments
Could have been a great movie but Hollywood had to ruin it with profanity, nudity, etc. Not worthy of anyone’s time or money.
—Sid and Brenda Owens, age 53
Don’t go see it. My wife and I were both disappointed. We squirmed in our seats at the foul langauge and violent rape scene, among other “implied” sex scenes. We were depressed after leaving the movie…
—David Pizzillo, age 33