Tag Archives: Andy Garcia

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Internal Affairs (1990) 4.19/5 (3)

 

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Rating: The Good – 74.4
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Duration: 115 mins
Director: Mike Figgis
Stars: Richard Gere, Andy Garcia, Nancy Travis

One of the more underrated crime thrillers of its era sees Andy Garcia taking on the role of the high-strung Raymond, a driven Internal Affairs detective who gets drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse with nasty LAPD veteran Dennis Peck (in a thrilling turn from Richard Gere). As Raymond works hand in glove with his no-nonsense partner, played by the wonderful Laurie Metcalf, Garcia’s relationship with his wife (Nancy Travis) begins to unravel as Peck uses the young detective’s insecurities against him.

Henry Bean’s story has all the hallmarks of the great cop dramas and Mike Figgis proves more than capable in teasing out all the latent tension of its earlier stages and the troubled psychology of its latter scenes. A sophisticated touch reveals itself in the soft lit photography and edgy composition but, most of all, it’s the manner in which the film is sewn together that gives the movie its more seductive qualities. Figgis and editor Robert Estrin throw a hazy vibe over the proceedings that seems coded to the humidity of the LA streets and imparting a grittiness that graced the likes of To Live and Die in LA and Colors (which Estrin also edited). Within this aesthetic, Bean’s dialogue seems all the more subjective and the cast almost universally rise to its level. Garcia strikes just the right balance between vulnerability and intensity and Metcalf is a rock of supporting class by his side. Actually they serve each other rather well and share a wry chemistry. Travis has her moments of misjudgment but, in the main, she seems to ably represent the ambiguity that Figgis wanted from her. William Baldwin is surprisingly engaging as Peck’s burnout partner and it’s nice to see Faye Grant get a big screen run out worthy of her talent as Baldwin’s beleaguered but not so innocent wife (a small few will remember her as Julie in V). Gere is the unquestionable star of the show, however, and it’s an insidiously menacing turn that rivals any bad guy from the genre. It’s his sly streak that runs most clearly through the movie and backdrops its overall dark tone. An interesting if ultimately one sided sexual politics adds even more nuance to his character before Figgis overplays that particular hand in the final act.

Though serving up some tidy action sequences amid this thick dramatic soup, Internal Affairs still manages to just fall short of its ambitions. Bean attempts to draw an interesting parallel between Raymond and Dennis’ antagonists which the actors do their best with but there’s just not enough meat on the story to do it justice. A few less moments of pensive reflection and a few more subplots accented towards their complicated rivalry would’ve gone a long way in giving us the type of central confrontation that marked The French Connection or Heat.

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The Untouchables (1987) 4.05/5 (3)

 

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Rating: The Good – 74.5
Genre: Gangster
Duration: 119 mins
Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Robert De Niro, Kevin Costner, Sean Connery

Of all Brian De Palma’s forays into mainstream cinema this is perhaps the story that best met his overt style. Kevin Costner plays Elliot Ness, Sean Connery the tough Irish cop (questionable accent and all) and Robert De Niro toplines as Al Capone. At the time of release, Costner was entering the highpoint of his career and was doing a good job in very interesting movies. The Untouchables was no different as he gives Ness some nice depth and just enough personality. Connery may have got the Oscar for his entertaining supporting role but it’s De Niro who strips the paint off the walls with a searing performance as Capone.

The Untouchables was De Palma at his most extravagant and Ennio Morricone met him head on with an equally opulent (and when not opulent – thrilling) score. Thankfully (and not surprisingly) both the style and score work a treat and indeed, they really elevate the famed story to something altogether more interesting. As you’d expect from De Palma, the set pieces as are exquisite with the shoot-out in the train station standing out in particular. The chemistry between Costner, Connery, Andy Garcia, and Charles Martin Smith (with the latter two rounding off Ness’ unit as the gun hand and accountant respectively) is spot on and enjoyably to watch and overall this is a damn good treatment of one of America’s great legends.

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The Mean Season (1985)

 

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Rating: The Good – 74.5
Genre: Thriller
Duration: 103 mins
Director: Phillip Borsos
Stars: Kurt Russell, Richard Jordan, Andy Garcia

The Mean Season is an excellent thriller about a reporter who is contacted by a serial killer to document his killings. It’s a standard enough plot but one that is well server by a solid cast, an incisive script, and some commanding direction by Philip Borsos. Kurt Russell is as watchable as ever as the conflicted reporter and the always great Richard Jordan plays off him wonderfully in one of the more original and interesting portrayals of serial killer. Mariel Hemingway is only fair as the love interest but Andy Garcia, Joe Pantoliano, and Richard Bradford make up for it with some fine secondary performances. The cast are given a lot of help by Leon Piedmont’s disciplined and insightful script (adapted from John Katzenbach’s novel). The dialogue never feels artificial yet it’s always completely compelling and, during the exchanges between Russell and Jordan, its downright captivating. The story is set against the backdrop of Florida’s storm season and Borsos uses it nicely to add to the movie’s atmosphere. Definitely worth a watch if you’re in the mood for some vintage 80′s thrills or just a damn good thriller.

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