Warren Beatty’s movie is a stylish film version of the Dick Tracy comic strip from the 1930’s.
Dick Tracy (1990) is also a bit of a family affair, for the good guys and the bad guys. The Kid (Charlie Korsmo) is an orphan who Tracy takes under his wing, Tracy and his girlfriend don’t live together and have contemplated getting married, and when Tracy is tempted by singer Breathless Mahoney (Madonna, who sings the songs), he knows to resist.
Then there are the bad guys. Criminal’s names are monochrome as in Big Boy, Flat Face etc. The film features hardened criminals whose clothes fit the times and their noses are bent out of shape. Distortion and facial peculiarity are taken to a new dimension in this film and they come with the most inventive botox of the year, which went on to win the Oscar for best make-up.
We may know Al Pacino from his charismatic style of performance, but you’ll have to look close to see him underneath a sheet of plastered ugliness as Big Boy Caprice, a criminal mastermind. Big Boy throws his weight around as the other colourfully attired gangsters oblige.
Big Boy brings his boys on board in a quest to be the top dogs in the city, but we know who’s got the ego here. Even so, a solid, reliable hero in Dick Tracy (Warren Beatty) who fights back, while Madonna as Breathless Mahoney seems to be going through the motions.
Dick Tracy is an artfully made matinee style blockbuster and utilizes the framing style of comic strips in its scenes. Art director and cinematographer give the look of the film a winning ambiance.
However, there are sexual references and for a blockbuster it is not fun Saturday evening entertainment, there’s a tendency for it to get bogged under by its own sense of crime and punishment and by the end it is too violent.
Even so, there is no swearing and sex, the theme is top notch, it’s about faithfulness and duty, and the production quality is innovative and brilliant. There’s also a sense of curiosity over the innovative approach.
Dick Tracy (1990) Starring: Warren Beatty, Madonna, Al Pacino, Glenne Headly, Charlie Korsmo. Director: Warren Beatty.