Mmmm, you can smell the nineties right from the start of this movie (gee, it was made in the nineties, that’s so strange), takes you back doesn’t it? Richard Gere was young and dashing, Andy Garcia three years after his big-screen debut in The Untouchables  thought that he’s gonna own the world (why this didn’t happen I still don’t know) and William Baldwin, well, he was in the movie. Internal Affairs is a cop thriller, much like the TV series The Shield with a slimmer and hotter version of Vic Mackey but a similar story of corrupt cops and people who are on to them.
This is a relatively slow movie that takes its time to develop the characters and build up momentum. From this perspective, this seems a bit stretched and sometimes tedious, but still, it keeps the attention with an additional plus of that nineties noir vibe. It never crosses the line into the mainstream, dancing on a thin line between a commercial thriller and a gripping tale of corruption. It’s ultimately a character study and damn fine one too.
Dennis Peck, seemingly an outstanding cop, has been in the crosshairs of the internal affairs for some time. Finally, a young and eager Raymond Avila joins them, and the hunt is on. Highly skilled in interrogation techniques and “connecting the dots”, he starts to get closer and closer to Dennis and his crew. Very manipulative and charming, Dennis uses all the means available to steer the investigation away from him, marking the start of the battle with only one victor.
Filmed smack dab in the middle of the crack cocaine expansion and the rising corruption in the police ranks, Internal Affairs offers a unique view to that era. Top this off with that Wall Street eighties explosion and the sexual tension, and you’re in for a ride. It is a relatively slow ride, but still a ride nonetheless.
Also, you can witness some really awkward behavior from the lead characters, something that you cannot see nowadays. Like bitchslapping your wife and fucking your way to the top, man style. Priceless… I am in the process of watching a lot of cop movies from the eighties and nineties. This should result in a longer article detailing this sub-genre that became so popular during those two decades. If we’re being honest, the whole thing started back in the seventies with the release of a cult classic Serpico. Setting the tone for all the rest, this gritty thriller is something that you should definitely check out, especially if you’re feeling hungry after Internal Affairs.
Director: Mike Figgis
Writer: Henry Bean
Cast: Richard Gere, Andy Garcia, Nancy Travis, Laurie Metcalf, William Baldwin, Richard Bradford, Michael Beach
Fun Facts: Richard Gere and Andy Garcia reportedly did not get along during filming. Some of the scenes in which they were required to hit each other, particularly the confrontation in the elevator, were allegedly for real. Garcia subsequently refused to attend the wrap party.