Dick Tracy

Dick Tracy ★★★★

"The enemy of my enemy is my enemy."

As a kid I never picked up on how similar Dick Tracy is to Tim Burton's original Batman. There's the amazingly stylish set designs (which granted, are opposites aesthetically) as well as Danny Elfman completely cannibalizing himself. Swap out the belfry for the gear-filled bridge tower and the finales are almost identical, with the hammy, scenery-chewing villains plummeting to their demise.

On the whole, Dick Tracy is the better film. In fact, it might be my favorite comic book adaptation (Spider-Man 2 being the only film that comes close.) Not only is the primary color visual palette an absolute treat but Beatty goes back time and again to two distinctive visual compositions: splitting the frame with a character or two in the background with an inanimate object in the foreground overwhelming the frame, and an almost obsessive need for visual symmetry with a character, usually Tracy, in the dead center of the frame with twinning objects on his side.

There are three irksome elements: the aforementioned work from Elfman and the villain Pacino, and Madonna's occasionally sexy but overall fairly flat interpretation of Breathless Mahoney.

I'm pretty sure Dick Tracy commits just as many crimes onscreen as Big Boy.

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