A detective works to end the reign of gangster Big Boy Caprice,
while dodging the advances of Caprice's lounge singer girlfriend.
Dick Tracy (1990)
Directed by Warren Beatty
Written by Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr.
Starring Warren Beatty, Al Pacino, Madonna, Glenne Headly,
Charlie Korsmo, Charles Durning, William Forsythe,
Mandy Patinkin, Dustin Hoffman, James Tolkan, Dick Van Dyke
Based on the comic strip by Chester Gould
Oscar Wins - Best Art Direction, Best Makeup,
Best Original Song (Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man))
Oscar Nominations - Best Supporting Actor (Al Pacino),
Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Mixing
Dick Tracy is what happens when you take a cast of legendary Hollywood actors and turn them into ridiculous cartoon characters. Warren Beatty's untethered ego is in full force in this sad attempt to make a superhero movie out of a comic strip character who hadn't been relevant for nearly half a century. This film's biggest problem is that the audience it was made for didn't know who the hell Dick Tracy was, and the old fans who did weren't interested in modern superhero films. This catch-22 is what kept this film from achieving Batman level success and watching it now, it's just painfully outdated.
The cast is incredibly stellar and equally incredibly wasted in the stupid characters they're forced to play under Warren Beatty's direction. The makeup is freakish and ill-advised. I understand that Beatty wanted to stick as close to the source material as possible, but some things just don't translate from page to screen. Al Pacino enters his 90's phase, playing one of his first constantly screaming characters. Somehow, he scored an Oscar nomination out of this. Alongside him is Madonna who can't act, James Caan in a 30-second cameo despite medium billing, and Dustin Hoffman as an annoying mumbler. Unsurprisingly, there's not much going for it.
Dick Tracy may be Warren Beatty's highest-grossing film, but it's a far cry from the masterpiece he was shooting for. It doesn't have a leg to stand on, as its plot is generic and forgettable. The film is laughably bad, aided only by its stylized setting and costumes. It's clear that Beatty had complete control, but it would've been nice if he'd managed to deliver with everything he had to work with.