Dick Tracy | Chicago Reader

Dick Tracy

Warren Beatty's second solo directing effort, and he still had a lot to learn. Based on the Chester Gould comic strip, this 1990 feature has an appealing two-dimensional look, but lacks the vision to go with it, not to mention an interesting hero or a feeling for action. Madonna is great as Breathless Mahoney, but the crosscutting plays havoc with her musical numbers (songs by Stephen Sondheim) and her presence is more implied than savored. Al Pacino as the head crook is even better (one suspects the uncredited hand of Elaine May in some of his crazed free-form monologues). But too much of the story is unfelt and mechanical—the grimly humorless Tracy (Beatty) is never very convincing as an object of desire or admiration. The script is credited to Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr., but apparently a good many other fingers found their way into this particular pie, including those of Beatty, May, Bo Goldman, Floyd Mutrux, and Robert Towne.

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