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Rated 3.02 stars
by 226 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Oscar Worthy
by Richard Jack Smith

Everything about Internal Affairs screams “classic film.” The performances, screenplay, editing, camerawork, music and direction represent a level of clarity not many thrillers can achieve. However, outrage is the emotion I feel about Richard Gere’s lack of Oscar recognition for Best Actor.

The dramatically compelling premise follows the ultimate corrupt cop Dennis Peck (Gere) as he pushes new Internal Affairs officer Raymond Avilla (Andy Garcia) closer and closer to the edge. Director Mike Figgis, along with writer Henry Bean, smartly focus on every conceivable angle. There’s adultery as well as one policeman’s skewed take on the law and how it impacts others around him. Every relationship whether it’s husband and wife, fellow police officers, etc. feels personal.

Peck’s duplicity as realized by Gere echoes throughout the force. It even leads to potential downfall when his partner Van Stretch (William Baldwin) finds himself under close scrutiny from Internal Affairs. The two investigating officers are Raymond and the no-nonsense Amy Wallace (Laurie Metcalf). They offer him a deal, totally unorthodox, but necessary to bring down the real viper. The conclusion to this plot thread surprised even me.

Internal Affairs ditches the rule-book in every way. Gere goes out on a limb playing an evil-to-the-core individual. He’s not only capable of manipulating those around him, he actually enjoys it. At the same time, he’s a family man only concerned with protecting the very people he supposedly loves the most. Watching him tease Garcia with endless mind games proves to be an original touch. It allows the audience to participate more in the story as Garcia unravels before us.

No shot feels out of place here. Editor Robert Estrin remains focused on story and character, leading to a refined assembly, rooted in idealism.

Internal Affairs will prove vital many decades from now. The strength of the storytelling amplifies the aesthetic value. Overall, the nature of obsession reverberates in the simplest actions and dramatic gestures.

(Released by Paramount Pictures and rated "R" by MPAA.)

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