Internal Affairs ★★★★★

“All The Way Live”

Paramount made so damn many of these adult and/or erotic thrillers in the ‘80s and ‘90s and they basically all suck except for this and Fatal Attraction and The Untouchables. This was the last good example, one of the very first films released in 1990. It feels like the shift between decades in a profound way, like somebody dropping a bunch of plates.

 I remember watching (and taping) this using a free PPV coupon our cable company had given us (also seen this way: Goodfellas). That would place my original viewing at age 13 or 14, so I've had some time to marinate with this one. It is a pinnacle of Glass Block Noir (see also Curtis Hanson's Bad Influence and Bill Duke's Deep Cover, and to some degree Paul Verhoeven's Basic Instinct), but this one has a distinct, strictly organized division of class, gender, and sexual orientation, with zero trust between any of the characters (the ones who stray from their compartments are hurt or killed in nearly all of these films). Gere plays such a fucking vile shit in this, it’s incredible, one of his best roles — just this piece of shit cop, a savage, signing up for law enforcement specifically FOR the ability to abuse power, expertly manipulating his environment and everyone he comes into contact with. It’s up there with Walken in At Close Range and Bruce Glover in 52 Pick-Up. Maybe even better. He's not unhinged like in Goodbar but is every inch as volatile.

There’s also a really defined sense of future shock all around this, even when punctuated by gunfire it’s all slo-mo John Woo composed balladry and prayer chants. Blinding sun and no shade. It’s yuppies who realize the perils in the upward part of upwardly professional, work vs careers, title not always dictating behavior, the exhaustion at having to constantly reinvent oneself starting to push through. The ending feels like studio interference still, but Gere is smart enough never to let on why his character is who he is; even his description (the "you selfish yuppie" speech) sounds improvised. His actions are sociopathic enough but we never see him much with the family. That movie I would watch too, the fruits of his labor. What kind of father could he be?

“You’re like a big baby with buttons all over. I push the buttons.”