Internal Affairs (1990) – 30th Anniversary Re:View

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The main ingredient that elevates “Internal Affairs” from standard cop thriller films is the collaborative soundtrack between Brian Banks, director Mike Figgis, and Anthony Marinelli. Distant, eerie, and hollow, their score leads us to understanding of the films attempt to create an anecdotal, cat-and-mouse thriller film.

After ambitious young officer Raymold Avila (Andy Garcia) is recruited to the “Internal Affairs” office of the Los Angeles police department, he begins to question the loyalty of officer Dennis Peck (Richard Gere). The film is in its majority, a by the numbers, cheeky cop film. However, it eventually comes forward as a subjective thriller on the fragility of the male sex ego, similar to the themes of Martin Scorsese’s 1980 film “Raging Bull”.

“Internal Affairs'” success at this is questionable, as the films lack of confidence does not give it the ferocious quality that it sets out to achieve. However, the potential the film carries is visible in some scenes. A shootout scene reveals the two worlds that Peck rides between, and establishes effectively, what Aliva is up against.

The narrative here is held together by the aforementioned soundtrack and the scenes are spiced up by how Peck provokes sexual tension with Aliva through his girlfriend. The rest is an average cop film that reflects the time period from which it came from.

The ambitious levels “Internal Affairs” challenges itself to reach is respectable, and it certainly succeeds in certain points. However, what could be a much darker, cynical look into the masculinity found in cops ends up being a modestly above average thriller that leaks of its own uncertainty.

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