What happens when the institution you have dedicated your life to — one supposedly upholding the values of honor, integrity, and loyalty — betrays you and leaves you for dead? “The Generals Daughter,” the 1999 thriller directed by Simon West (“Con Air,” “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider”), investigates this question with devastating results.
Starring John Travolta, Madeleine Stowe, James Woods, and James Cromwell, “The Generals Daughter” is a military procedural tinted with Freudian melodrama and Southern Gothic horror. Based on the 1992 Nelson DeMille novel of the same name, “The Generals Daughter” revolves around the brutal murder of a beautiful, seemingly perfect female captain at a Georgia Army base. Travolta and Stowe are led down a dark trail as they discover the cover-up of a gang rape at West Point and its connection to a potential vice presidential candidate — the victims father.
The films complicated plot, heavy use of flashbacks, and a long lineup of suspects make it possible for the audience to miss the finer details of the mystery. Though it grossed $102.7 million domestically, “The Generals Daughter” was generally panned by critics on Rotten Tomatoes. In his 1999 review, Roger Ebert called it a “well-made film … populated by edgy performances” but criticized the central murder as “unnecessarily graphic and gruesome” (via RogerEbert.com). Sadly, the plot of “The Generals Daughter” remains relevant 22 years after its release: Per NPR, one in four women in the U.S. military are victims of sexual assault.
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The secret room opens a door to her psyche
Brenner hopes to explore Elisabeths home off-base, but Kent tells him hell need a civilian search warrant and confiscates her keys. Brenner and Sunhill break into the house to search for clues and find a hidden room inside the basement. While Elisabeths home offers clues to her murder, it is also a larger symbol for her mind: The interior seems neat and orderly, but once they go deeper, they find a place she has worked to keep secret. The room contains a bed, BDSM gear, and videotapes featuring Elisabeth as a dominatrix having sex with several masked men. While leaving, an intruder suddenly attacks Brenner and steals the tapes.
A suspicious message on Elisabeths answering machine leads them to Col. Robert Moore (James Woods). Elisabeths mentor in psy-ops, Moore was close to her but is cagey about the nature of their relationship and gives Brenner a false alibi. While detained, Moore admits that something “awful” happened to Elisabeth at West Point and refuses to elaborate. Kent releases Moore, but when Brenner goes to his home, he finds Moore dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Campbells adjutant is eager to pin the murder on Moore despite Brenners suspicions.
Just as Elisabeth hid her secret enclave behind an ironic “Home of the Brave” Army poster, the blood-splattered living room is a reminder that the shadow of violence is long. Whatever secret Elisabeth and Moore kept, it didnt stay on the Army base –- they carried it home with them, with fatal results.
*In 1997, Clint Eastwood directed the film completely shot in Savannah call Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil which focuses on the murder of a man and a man on trial for murder. The film stars Kevin Spacey and John Cusack. Clint Eastwood bases the film off the book by John Berendt with the same title.
*In 1999, various scenes of the film The Generals Daughter was filmed in Savannah. Directed by Simon West and starring John Travolta, Madeleine Stowe, James Woods, James Cromwell, the film is based off the military mystery book by Nelson Demille about the undercover investigation of the murder of the General’s draughts.
Is the general’s daughter based on a true story?
What rank was John Travolta in The General’s Daughter?
One night, she stops to help Paul Brenner (John Travolta), a chief warrant officer in the United States Army Criminal Investigation Division Command, fix his flat tire.
What year was the general’s daughter filmed?
Is basic a sequel to The General’s Daughter?