for war violence, language © 20th Century Fox 1996
Lt. Colonel Nathaniel Serling (Denzel Washington) is a former Gulf-war armored tank commander sent home to Washington to a desk-job after his involvement a friendly-fire incident that took the lives of several of his own men which is still under investigation. Serling is ordered to review Capt. Karen Walden's (Meg Ryan) candidacy for a Medal of Honor, to be awarded, posthumously, to the Medevac pilot for her <i>courage under fire</i>.
Expected to expedite the inquiry and rubber-stamp the approval for the Medal, Serling is instead drawn into her crew's conflicting stories regarding Walden's actions during a rescue mission. Serling begins to suspect a much more complicated tale, perhaps even a cover-up. By solving the mystery surrounding her death he finds peace with his own actions and confronts the demons of the incident in the Gulf that, for all intents and purposes, ended his brilliant military career -- and comes to understand the many meanings of real courage.