General's Daughter

John Travolta and Madeline Stowe head up a good cast in the conventional thriller about the murder about (uh...) the General's daugher. James Cromwell, Clarence Williams III, James Woods, and Leslie Stefanson also star. Travolta works for the CID, a division of the army similar to an Internal Affairs bureau at a police station. They are the people that investigate crimes within the army. On assignment at Fort MacCullum in Georgia, he is pulled into another case when the daugher (Stefanson) of fort commander General Joe Campbell (Cromwell) is found dead, naked, and raped. As you expect, everyone is a suspect, and everyone knows more than they are willing to say. And of course, Gen. Campbell has political aspirations, so everything needs to be resolved quickly, and above all, quietly.

Bucking this tide is Paul Brennan (Travolta), who wants to get to the bottom of all of this. Working with him is an old flame Sarah Sunhill (Madeleine Stowe), a rape investigator. Based on a novel by Nelson DeMille, the General's Daughter never tries to be anything more than a big flashy summer movie. It succeeds at that, and not much else. It tries to touch upon every controversial issue involving the military that you can shake a stick at, but you would rather use the stick to hit the people that made the movie. The rape imagery is disturbing, as it is supposed to be, but at times it feels like it was put there for shock value, and nothing else. At one point, Brenner asks Col. Robert Moore (Woods) "[w]hat can be worse than rape?" "When you know the answer to that, you'll know everything," replies Moore. Well, I know the answer now, and the ending isn't too satisfying, but getting there wasn't that bad.

Travolta isn't a bad actor. But here at Haro, we do believe that many people's opinion of him is higher than it should be. He always does this thing when his character gets "serious" where he kind of squints his eyes, purses his lips, talks a little quiter, and shakes his head from side to side. For those of you expecting it, he does it here. Brennan is essentially a jerk. He's a jerk towards Sunhill, and he is a jerk towards most of the suspects and local law enforcement. He also spouts pithy comments throughout the movie, making his character more unlikeable. Cromwell has lately made it a point to play people in positions of power (LA Confidential, Deep Impact, ...) which if fine with us, since he does a great job of it. Williams is usually good, but this character isn't really given anything to do in this movie.

Haro Rates It: Okay
1 hour, 57 minutes, Rated R for nudity, a rape scene, and violence associated with rape.

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