Martin Scorsese, Tim Burton and John Landis were among the directors who were considered to bring comic book Dick Tracy to the screen at one time or another, but when Warren Beatty was offered the chance to direct he said yes, with one stipulation – that he be the star, too. The end result is an odd movie – not a blockbuster, not an action picture, and yet not an arthouse movie either – that will most likely appeal to older (teens and up) viewers (younger ones will probably be bored, and perhaps are a little young to see co-star Madonna oozing all over Mr Beatty).
Coloured in the bright shades of the comic (red, blue, yellow, purple, green and orange) and populated with impressive character actors like Mandy Patinkin, Paul Sorvino, Charles Durning, Seymour Cassel and Pacino, this is the stylised tale of detective Dick Tracy and his various encounters with bad guys like Big Boy Caprice (an over-the-top Pacino) and a smouldering Madonna as chanteuse Breathless Mahoney (‘You don’t know if you want to hit me or kiss me. I get a lot of that.’). It has great songs (from Stephen Sondheim), but ultimately it looks and sounds great yet doesn’t have a pacy plot to keep you gripped until the end.
Is Dick Tracy suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
The bad guys with their contorted faces all look quite scary but there are no truly scary moments.