Monday, May 5, 2014

Dick Tracy (1990)

IMDb plot summary: The comic strip detective finds his life vastly complicated when Breathless Mahoney makes advances towards him while he is trying to battle Big Boy Caprice's united mob.
Directed by Warren Beatty. Starring Warren Beatty, Madonna, Glenne Headly, and Al Pacino.

Well, dang. I knew I'd probably enjoy this, but I really didn't anticipate I'd love this as much as I did. I'm still processing it, but let me try to at least list some of my thoughts here, even if I can't organize them nicely:

-At some point in my childhood I know I watched a bunch of the Dick Tracy cartoons, and so as characters from the comic strip and cartoon showed up, I had sudden bursts of unexpected nostalgia. That was fun.

-Similarly, I kept hearing Sondheim songs that I didn't realize were written for this and yelling delightedly, "OH! This song!" I knew "Sooner or Later" was from this movie, but I had forgotten about "More," and I don't think I ever knew "Live Alone and Like It" or "Back In Business" were part of this. Turns out the only one I didn't know was the one Mandy Patinkin and Madonna sang together, and even then I got all squealy about a non-theater movie featuring Patinkin singing Sondheim.

-The tone of this movie is just perfect. THIS, people, is how you do an adaptation. It is so uncompromisingly dedicated to keeping the noir pulp fiction comic atmosphere, without either turning it into a "grittier" version or hyping it up to create an obnoxiously self-aware parody. It embraces its over-the-top nature but plays it straight, even down to mimicking the comic strip character design, and the result is so, so delightful. The comedy comes naturally out of the material itself, rather than the authors winking at the audience.

-This movie looks AWESOME. The bright, vibrant colors are gorgeous, and the dramatic locations and backdrops are beautifully picturesque. Lovelovelove.

-The acting is all super fun, but special nods to Warren Beatty as Tracy, Charlie Korsmo as the Kid, and Dustin Hoffman as Mumbles.

OK. I think I've covered most of my thoughts on this. Let me sum up by saying I really, REALLY enjoyed this all the way through. This is an excellent kick-off to my friend Travis' movie challenge week.

4.5 stars.

Flickchart: #271 out of 2125, below Nosferatu and above The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

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