In both 1996 and 1997 Demi Moore headlined the years’ most controversial film. With Striptease in 1996 followed by G.I. Jane in 1997. While Moore was doing press tours for Striptease her shaved head was just as buzzed about as that toned torso that she flaunted in the picture. So, a year before it’s release there was already a curiosity about ‘the female solider’ movie she was filming under Ridley Scott’s direction. Moore’s physical transformation is remarkable and she is totally committed to the role, but Viggo Mortensen delivers the best performance in the film as a tough-as-nails Master Chief.
Senator Lilian DeHaven (Anne Bancroft) has a re-election coming up and needs a new platform to base her campaign. Seeing an opportunity, she cuts a back-room deal with the Secretary of the Navy (Daniel von Bargen) that would allow a handpicked female test subject to compete with men in a U.S. Navy Combined Reconnaissance Team boot-camp. Topographical analyst Lieutenant Jordan O’Neil (Demi Moore), is chosen based on her femininity more than anything else. DeHaven senses that O’Neil has the right ‘look’ for PR, but neither the Senator, nor the Secretary, expect O’Neil to complete the training.
Paired with the hardest bad-asses in the military O’Neil is initially given a set of ‘gender normalization’ passes on military exercises. Her presence at the training facility is meet with scorn from her fellow soldiers. The mercurial Command Master Chief John James Urgayle (Viggo Mortensen) is the man responsible for putting the recruits in emotional and physical despair. Jordan persuades the her superiors to hold her to the same standards and practices that are given to her teammates.
I’m not sure any other actress could have embodied this character more fully than Demi Moore. Her obsessive commitment to the role is evident from her muscular physique to her shaved head, but this isn’t a hype job, Moore proves herself in a career-best outing. The sharp direction of Ridley Scott mixed with stunning photography by Hugh Johnson, and crisp editing from Pietro Scalia turn G.I. Jane into four-star entertainment.
Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Demi Moore, Viggo Mortensen, Anne Bancroft