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May 07, 2004

Col. Nathan R. Jessup

Colonel Nathan R. Jessup (Jack Nicholson) eats breakfast three hundred yards from four thousand Cubans who a trained to kill him, so don't think for a second that anyone can intimidate such a decorated, determined, and patriotic American like him. No, the only way you can intimidate a man like him is to catch him off guard, to discover his weakness and expose it, to leverage the justice system for the chance to find the skeletons hanging in this guy's closet. In other words, the only way you can intimidate Col. Nathan R. Jessup is to catch him in a lie, and demand a reason for it.

Jessup was the commanding officer of the ground forces stationed in Guantanomo Bay, Cuba. His Marines worked as a machine with lots of help from his right-hand men, Lt. Col. Markinson (J.T. Walsh) and Lt. Kendrick (Kiefer Sutherland). When one of the men made a mistake, it was the job of the other men to never let that one Marine forget it. Using a hazing technique known as a "Code Red," a couple of Marines were ordered to let one of their own know he made a mistake one night. The mistake, it turns out, was theirs, as the young Marine wound up dead.

Faced with incredible embarassment, Jessup did everything he could to cover up the details of the order given to the two young Marines now on trial for murder. They were left out to dry, facts were covered up, and official documents were falsified. The simple fact was that if word got out an order was given to rough up the deceased kid, Jessup's ass and the rest of officers would be on the block. Leave it to one young upstart attorney, Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise), a guy hired to plea bargain for the two Marines and unwittingly sweep the case under a rug, to actually investigate and uncover a conspiracy.

Dramatically called to the stand, Col. Jessup would voice his lack of respect for the people like Caffee who did things to tear people down instead of understanding what he was trying to do. Jessup made his moves to protect his Marines and his country, and it's just too damn bad that one subpar Marine fell got dragged under the wheels of his rise to political power. His devotion to the Marine way of life is admirable, but Jessup takes offense to being questioned about the manner in which he protects his country. In the end, he shows his true colors and admits to giving the order that cost at least two Marines their lives and two innocent Marines their careers. He can't understand why he's being punished for his actions; after everything, it is in fact Col. Jessup who can't handle the truth.

INTELLIGENCE - 7: Jessup is the commanding officer of the Marine ground forces in Cuba. He's earned these points.

POWER - 5: He's one tough Marine, but he is an older Marine.

VILENESS - 8: The death of one of his own hardly bothers him; covering it up is his only concern.

SWAY - 10: Jessup makes everyone uncomfortable, whether he's barking orders or calm and cool.

PURITY - 10: He's not just driven by the Marine code; he is obsessed with it.

PHYSICAL - 5: He's one of the meanest lookin' soldiers you'll ever meet.

TOTAL: 45

Posted by Destro at May 7, 2004 11:00 AM