BluRay/DVD Reviews

THE GENERAL’S DAUGHTER

By • Dec 14th, 2000 •

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Rating: PASSABLE

Oh my, this is a demo-quality disc. The image is so sharp (and the first ten minutes are so packed with detailed long shots as if to irrevocably prove that statement) that it rivets your attention to the screen. The director has been given all the money in the world, it feels, to get across his narrative, and even if you don’t buy the story, don’t like Travolta, think it’s too sleazy for its own good as apparently many critics and theatergoers did, still you’ll be reluctant to get rid of it because it’s just so damn beautiful.

Murder on the military base. We’ve been there before. This time we’re there with the likes of big John, fleshy-faced, heavy-on-the-pancake-makeup James Woods, craggy-yet-delicate-faced James Cromwell, anonymous-faced Timothy Hutton, unblinking-faced Clarence Williams III, and Madeleine Stowe. A darn good cast, with dialogue sharpened by William Goldman, and a score that instantly grabs you by Carter Burwell. Simon West directs, often too hysterically for my taste, but there are some memorable dramatic scenes. The dialogue tennis match between Travolta and Woods is material that could be used in screenwriting classes for years to come. The second half grows progressively harder to accept, and therefore to enjoy. But it’s not a write-off. It’s definitely fun, and in DVD land, where most discs are really good, a disc this good comes along maybe once or twice a month.

In addition, there are four deleted scenes (including an alternate ending), a behind-the-scenes featurette, and a commentary track by director West.

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