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Dick Tracy
Warren Beatty USA, 1990
The film is noted for its superior (almost to a fault) production design, its palette reportedly limited to just seven colors, the vivid costumes and gorgeous painted matte backdrops ironically reflecting the limited scope of comic art. Many critics accused the film of being too two-dimensional, but what’s the harm in that? What is DICK TRACY if not an exercise—or perhaps even a verdure exaltation—of Camp?
November 17, 2017
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Beatty’s film is still primarily a marvel of craft, its hemorrhaging budget evident in every frame of its hand-painted, Sunday comics page-evoking backgrounds… It’s a fitfully entertaining, but slightly hollow story that never quite matches the bombastic grandeur of Danny Elfman’s score nor the emotional depth of Sondheim’s songs. Dick Tracy burns itself into your retinas, but it leaves little impression on the mind. Nevertheless, it remains one of the most singular comic-book films ever made.
February 21, 2017
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Dick Tracy is noir re-envisioned in art-deco Legos, a pretend law-enforcement fantasia. And ultimately it boils down to the exact sort of glam genre posturing espoused in Madonna’s own blockbuster addendum to the soundtrack: the majestic act of subculture assimilation “Vogue.” From Beatty’s humorous acquiescence to monogamy to his macho attempts at surrogate parenthood, Dick Tracy certainly numbers among the “fellas that were in the mood.”
February 28, 2013
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The creepy world and characters of Chester Gould’s strip are reproduced with a rare fidelity to their spirit as well as to their distinguishing details. What the movie lacks, unfortunately, proves to be just as important: a feeling for action, an engaging story, an interesting and credible hero, and a vision to go with the look — a vision that would make the look functional, put it at the service of some higher meaning.
June 15, 1990
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