Internal Affairs (1990)

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Released 10-Aug-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 110:02
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (57:39) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Mike Figgis
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Richard Gere
Andy Garcia
Nancy Travis
William Baldwin
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $39.95 Music Mike Figgis
Anthony Marinelli
Brian Banks


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Portuguese
Hebrew
Greek
Croatian
Italian
Spanish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, last scene fades out beneath closing credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Whether you particularly like Andy Garcia or Richard Gere as actors or not, Internal Affairs is the type of movie where an indifferent attitude to both of them is a bonus because the protagonists in this film are both flawed, and realistically so, making this a more interesting movie for it. In addition, the taut direction of Mike Figgis keeps things moving along at a comfortable clip so that this feels a lot shorter than its running time of 110 minutes. The final scene really climaxes a very decent plot.

    Raymond Avila (Garcia) is newly-promoted to the IAD (Internal Affairs Department) of the L.A.P.D. He's ambitious and dedicated and his first assignment is the interrogation of an old buddy from his Academy days, Van Stretch (William Baldwin) who is under investigation for aggravated assault and the planting of evidence on a suspect. Raymond and his partner, Amy Wallace (Laurie Metcalf), conclude that there is insufficient evidence to charge Van Stretch and let him go, but Avila isn't completely satisfied. He gathers together the department's paperwork on Stretch and examines it for more information. As he does so, he becomes more interested in Stretch's partner than he ever was in his old buddy.

    Diligent backtracking through financial records by Wallace and Avila uncovers that Van Stretch's partner, Denis Peck (Gere) has a lot more to hide than Stretch. Peck, it seems, cultivates a lot of friends, seemingly from both sides of the law, and is living way beyond his means. In addition, he seems to have a lot of clout at a local mall where many cops are moonlighting as security guards, and this makes them both suspicious. The problem is that Peck is way more than he seems on the surface. He's sexually promiscuous (even going so far as having an affair with his partner's wife) and his scruples don't preclude murder, either for money or for setting up his own partner when he believes he's going to rat on him. Now Avila has Peck in his sights, but Peck is a dangerous quarry, capable of fighting back and plays by his own rules.

    This is a slowly building cat-and-mouse confrontation, with Garcia becoming slowly obsessed with bringing down Gere's character to the exclusion of everything else, even his own personal life. If the movie has a flaw, it was in having too many dead spots in and around the Garcia/Gere plotline, but it was never boring for all that. This also isn't the best transfer I've seen by a long shot but the audio goes a long way towards compensating for this. A good cast, a decent plot, a bag of potato chips and you can easily while away a couple of hours on a well-made and presented movie.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    One thing to note before we get into the nitty-gritty of the transfer. The disc label notes this as being a Region 4/PAL release. The rear sleeve notes this disc as being Region 4/NTSC. This is not an NTSC disc as far as I can ascertain and should work in all R4 DVD players without a problem.

    The original theatrical release is listed as being in 1.85:1. We are offered a 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is more than suitable.

    I was a little disappointed with the sharpness of the transfer. There was much use of edge enhancement throughout the movie, generally discernable on any outline. The shadow detail was fairly mediocre also, with little fine detail on show. There was some variation during the movie, but overall it was not great. Grain was suitably low in level, but was visible. Only if you look for it will it become a problem. There was no hint of low level noise but blacks exhibited little variation and consequently there was a dearth of quality depth on offer during the vast majority of the movie. It must be said that many background shots were blurred out deliberately which didn't add to the quality at times, but this wasn't a problem with the transfer.

    The colour is often drab and uninviting. The overall darkness of the transfer may be one reason, but many scenes suffered as a result. There was no hint of colour bleed, and oversaturation was not an issue at any stage.

    There were quite a few minor problems with the transfer. The opening credits had a slight wobble to them. There were the usual plethora of white and black marks and flecking on offer. I haven't listed them all for brevity's sake. The most obvious in the first hour are at 4:36, 6:16, 20:34, 20:40, 21:11, 24:36, 24:45, 24:46, 28:49, and so on. Some of these blemishes exhibited slight discolouration effects as well, including some blurring and the odd purplish halo. At 24:59, there is a slight moiré effect on the Venetian blinds in the background and at 56:49 there is an obvious black smudge across Garcia's face.

    There are a nice array of subtitles on offer which are easy to read and nicely visible (aided by the darker-than-normal transfer). They are situated as normal at the bottom eighth of the screen and don't impede the action on-screen in any way.

    The RSDL change occurs in Chapter 7 at 57:39 and is fairly obvious. Although there is no dialogue or music at the time, the pause is of sufficient length to be highly noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The overall audio feel of this movie is quite surprising. Considering the expected emphasis on dialogue, there was little expectation of high fidelity being on offer, but this was not the case. There is a real spaciousness across the front soundstage as well as some envelopment from the rears to complement the variety of music on offer.

    This disc offers four audio tracks. The default is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track with a very nice bitrate of 448 kilobits per second. There are also Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded tracks in French, Italian and Spanish at 192 kilobits per second if you desire. I stuck exclusively with the English version and merely sampled the others.

    The dialogue was clean and sharp throughout with no problems to speak of. I could detect no problems with the audio sync.

    The music is attributed to Mike Figgis (the director), Anthony Marinelli and Brian Banks . This is a very decent effort on the part of all three. There are slices of movie with an absence of music and just dialogue, but more often than not the verbal interplay is accompanied by an underlay of bass and drums. There also seemed to be a nice variety of musical types on offer. Some scenes consisted of drums and bongos, others had Latino-style sounds and everything really worked to add atmosphere to the movie.

    The surrounds got a lot of redirected music to work with. The effect was of a generous encompassing sound that added an extra dimension to the movie. When the surrounds were in obvious use, the soundtrack sounded much more dramatic, with a far fuller feeling. Naturally, this wasn't possible all the time, but added to the few special effects it did give the spatial feeling from the fronts a huge fillip when they were in use.

    The subwoofer received some excellent treatment from the musical elements of the movie. Again, there isn't much in the way of effects on offer, so the use of lots of bass instruments and their redirection to the .1 channel gave it a chance to live just below the conscious level much of the time but it was there, rumbling away, playing its part in the overall atmosphere being generated.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

None.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this DVD misses out on

    The Region 1 version of this DVD misses out on

    Call it a draw overall on features, which would make the R4 my choice because of the superior PAL encoding.

Summary

    Internal Affairs is a slightly off-beat thriller which is highly enjoyable a second or third time around. It features good performances by the cast and is tightly held together by good direction. The video isn't fantastic but it is watchable and the audio is excellent, really adding atmosphere to complement a decent movie. The extras are non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Carl Berry (read my bio)
Tuesday, September 04, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderRotel RSP-976. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationRotel RB 985 MkII
SpeakersJBL TLX16s Front Speakers, Polk Audio LS fx di/bipole Rear Speakers, Polk Audio CS350-LS Centre Speaker, M&KV-75 Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Region 1 Internal Affairs. -
Region 1 Internal Affairs is NOT anamorphic. -