Dick Tracy (1990)
Plot: Big Boy Caprice (Al Pacino), the city’s biggest crime lord, forms a dangerous criminal organization with every mob boss in town. Dick Tracy (Warren Beatty) is the only cop who can put Big Boy behind bars.
Warren Beatty. Al Pacino. Dustin Hoffman. James Caan. Madonna? Actually, Madonna is quite good, just like everything else in this movie. Dick Tracy is an extraordinary film. I’ve said it a hundred times, but it mixes the Godfather with Batman and creates some kind of super movie. It’s gritty, clever, well directed, and beautifully acted. But the best part about this movie is the look. The art direction of Dick Tracy is the greatest set design in the history of movies. And if you think I’m crazy, I’m supported by the fact that Richard Sylbert and Rick Simpson won Oscars for it. It’s absolutely gorgeous. The characters look like they are walking and interacting in a painting. I’m thankful everyday that Dick Tracy came out in 1990 and not today, where surely most of these sets would have been shit CG. The colors of all the buildings, suits, and cars flow with the tone of the film flawlessly. It’s got some of the best montages of all time, and the Madonna music and her performance fits the film perfectly. It’s got a phenomenally suspenseful ending at the Gear House. Warren Beatty stars and directs, and should be very proud. I can’t say enough good things about this movie. It’s one of my favorites, and if for some reason you haven’t seen it, please do so. It’s a near perfect masterpiece.
Rating: 9 out of 10 (OMG)
Category Rankings (Spoilers Throughout)
Best Performance: Al Pacino as Big Boy Caprice
-Everyone is great in the movie, but this is one of Pacino’s best performances. He was even nominated for an Oscar for it. Big Boy is one of my favorite characters of all time. He’s exceptionally smart, but he’s also eccentric as hell. He can be a quiet leader, a hysterical goof ball, and angry as hell. Pacino plays every persona beautifully.
Worst Performance: Charles Durning as Chief Brandon
-He reminded me a lot of Chief O’Hara from the 1966 Batman. He’s just this bumbling guy who never seems to have a good grasp on anything. There’s a scene where he talks to the Kid, and it feels like he’s trying to get advice from him. He’s a kid! He just looks confused all the time. You’re the Chief of Police! Do something!
Best Line: “You get behind me, we all profit; you challenge me, we all go down! There was one Napoleon! One Washington! One me!” –Big Boy
-This sums Big Boy up perfectly. He’s this squirmy crime lord who eats walnuts, but truly believes he’s destined for greatness.
Worst Line: “Are you going to make a move, or do I have to do everything?” –Breathless Mahoney to Tracy at his office
-I get this is the character, but its way too much. Breathless wastes no time. They’ve maybe spent just under two minutes of total time together, and she already comes in with this line. Could we be just a little more subtle, maybe?
-There’s a great shootout towards the end of the film as the mobsters try and escape in their cars, shooting their way through the police. Tommy-guns go off everywhere, its madness. Tracy goes nuts and takes out almost everyone. Poor Flattop, Big Boy’s right hand man, is the last to get it. He’s a little wobbly coming out of the car, but tries his hardest to take out Tracy. There’s a fantastic shot where Tracy turns around as a huge explosion goes off in the background as he just destroys Flattop.
-When Tracy is framed, he is being transferred to another jail. His cop partners Pat and Sam take him in their car and claim, “It takes about 8 hours to get to the other jail.” And so basically they just spring Tracy and let him clear his name and go after Big Boy. I don’t know; Pat and Sam seem to get away with this way too easily. In the next scene, Tracy is busting down Mumble’s door to question him. The guy is supposed to technically still be in jail! How can he get away with this?
-I’m actually going to go with a montage here. Tracy has just been arrested and the song “Back in Business” plays as Big Boy and his thugs run the city rampant. Cash drops all over the screen, the criminals are shooting everything like crazy, and Big Boy gets huge piles of money dumped in front of him. It’s so slick in the way it’s directed, with fantastic imagery. It’s the first scene that comes to mind whenever I think of Dick Tracy.
-Going back to my worst line, it’s this Mahoney visiting Tracy’s office scene. It’s just way too blatant. She’s bringing champagne over, climbing on his desk; it’s just a little much.
-There are a lot of hysterical Big Boy moments, but the one that always gets me is him singing and dancing at the first Club Ritz rehearsal. He gets so angry and into it. But the real gut buster is right at the tail end of the “More” song, where Big Boy gets up and flails his arms, dancing with the ladies. Al Pacino is so funny in the way he moves, it gets me every time.
Bad Ass Moment:
-It’s another montage. Tracy stands in front of this huge brick wall and unloads one punch, taking out seven guys. It’s fucking awesome. It could have easily looked stupid, but Beatty pulls it off, both in acting and directing.