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Internal Affairs (Arrow Recommends)

Internal Affairs (Arrow Recommends)
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"Arrow Recommends is a column that has my sorry ass advise older movies to your royal asses. I will be flexible in terms of genres i.e. I will cover whatever the bleep I want. For now, it will be the way to keep my voice on the site."

PLOT: Crooked and loving it cop Dennis Peck (Gere) was having a hoot banging his partner’s wife, getting folks whacked for coin, laundering money etc... but that’s until hard-ass internal affairs agent (those who police the cops) Raymond Avilla (Garcia) got in his business, threatening to ruin the party. Peck winds up having to resort to every trick and deception he has up his sleeves to get rid of the monkey in a suit that’s on his back.

"You're so f*cking easy Raymond. Like a big baby with buttons all over.
I push the buttons. " – Peck

LOWDOWN: I always had a soft spot for INTERNAL AFFAIRS (get the Blu-Ray or watch it HERE!) which was MIKE FIGGIS first American film released in 1990. It did "okay" at the box office back then, but Gere got glowing reviews and it did gather some steam on home video. It has since hit classic status – as it should cause it’s f-ing brilliant. Having recently re-watched FIRST KNIGHT (and loving the shit out of it – so fun) it got me in a Richard Gere mood, so of course the next flick I’d tap of his would be this gem that saw him play against type and he owned it like the suave champ that he was. This entire keyboard vomit could easily be about Dick Gere and his stellar showcase, but I’ll try to go beyond that.

INTERNAL AFFAIRS was an edgy, quasi film noir thriller filled with mucho twists and turns (some predictable, some not) that kept me riveted to the screen. The story unraveled at a furious pace and was always engaging while the violence was totally in your face when it erupted. The look of the picture was on point too! Figgis take on LA was basically hell on earth, he made genius use of close ups, pimped out novel framing, slapped in slow motion in just the right places to up the impact of key moments and I esteemed the noir-ish tendency he injected into the visuals. It surely helped matters that the DP of the picture was John A. Alonzo who shot one of the quintessential film noirs Chinatown (1974). The result was one hell of a lavish looking picture.

But beneath the slick imagery, the investigation shenanigans, the lying, the cheating or Gere’s impeccable hair, this flick was TRULY about one thing: two men’s men; one with a heart of stone, the other, too damn emotional for his own good, having a dick measuring contest and going at it. The moment Peck and Avilla met, this thought popped in my noggin “It’s f*cking on”. What ensued was a twisted game of cat and mouse with Avilla trying to pinch Peck and Peck trying to out play & destroy Avilla.  Another way I perceived things this time around was that Peck with all of his charm, devious ploys and complete lack of a conscience was akin to the Devil. A dude that seemed to immensely enjoy f*cking over everybody around him and that loved corrupting others… basically an evil prick hidden in plain sight behind a smile and a badge. On his end Avila was a simple man, one with deep flaws (like a jealous streak) that Peck wasn’t shy to capitalize on.

After box office duds like THE COTTON CLUB and KING DAVID, Gere needed a hit big time and his entrancing performance here coupled with the box office smash that was PRETTY WOMAN (released the same year afterwards) gave him just that! Gere was hypnotizing as the villain (his only bad guy role to date), a LION in a den of sheep. With his tight jeans, collar up shirt and his quiet yet intense, macho and charismatic demeanor – I couldn‘t get enough of the dude. The handful of “holy shit” scenes that involved Gere's character had me laughing out loud in terms of the audacity put forward or totally bitch slapped me in a WTF way. Just remember this: that bit where some dude walks in on Peck having fun with his wife. All I'll say. Man I love that scene.

It’s unfortunate that Gere never played a heavy again cause the contrast that is his affable/cool demeanor versus his disgusting actions really hit home. Wow. What a performance. On his end Andy Garcia was fine as the cop on his tail, but he was so stuck up and always-intense i.e. one-note that I was rooting for Gere for the most part. Half way through the film, Gere was the good guy for me and Garcia just a ball busting party pooper. That’s until Gere went too far in the last act. Word has it that both Gere and Garcia didn’t get along on set (I hear the hits in that elevator scene were real) and that may be a factor that made the onscreen rivalry so damn riveting. Just saying. Add to all that a strong/moody score (by Brian Banks, Mike Figgis and Anthony Marinelli), one hell of a supporting cast (William Baldwin, Nancy Travis, Annabella Sciorra, Laurie Metcalf, Faye Grant) that added street cred to the proceedings, an un-pc attitude & raw dialogue that carved a grin on my face (this movie would get KILLED today by the mighty social media warriors) and you get a visceral, daring, gritty and go for the throat thriller!

Any peeves? Some but nothing "deal breaking". I guess if I had to bitch about something it would the finale. The last act screamed thriller 101 with a very clichéd turn of events (right down to an uneven villain “why” monologue) and taking into account what preceded it – I felt the flick deserved a stronger and more unpredictable cap-off. Don’t get me wrong, it was still satisfying but I yearned for something a bit more out the box. Upon some research I found out that they actually re-shot the ending after a test screening went south. In fact you can see clips from the original ending in the film’s trailer. Gotta find out how it originally went down. One thing is for certain; it’s a damn sin that this flick doesn’t have a proper Blu-Ray with all kinds of extras/commentaries to dig into! Best we got is this bare bones version. Come on Studio, this classic deserves WAYYYY more love. Make it happen! I’ll be first in line to nab it.

In closing, if you’ve never seen INTERNAL AFFAIRS, stop what you’re doing right now, find it somewhere, and give it a whirl. You owe it to yourself to chow down on a slice of Evil Gere with a side order of immoral/violent acts left, right and center! Now, I’ve always been a Richard Gere fan but sadly I must admit that I lost track of his career after THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES. re-watching INTERNAL AFFAIRS reminded me of what a gem of an actor he is. So yeah, you bet your ass I’ll catch up on some of the Gere films I missed and may even tap some older ones that I love (Officer and a Gentleman, Breathless, Final Analysis, Primal Fear). Trust him, he’s a cop.

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