The Singing Detective
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From director Keith Gordon (Mother Night, A Midnight Clear) comes this American feature adaptation of the 1986 BBC miniseries, The Singing Detective. Robert Downey Jr. returns to the big-screen for the first time since 2000's Wonder Boys as Dan Dark, a novelist who is hospitalized with a severe case of psoriasis. As he lays in bed, Dark hallucinates that he is actually a World War II-era private dick embroiled in an oddball web of mystery, intrigue, and musical numbers. Written by the late Dennis Potter (Pennies From Heaven, Gorky Park) and co-starring Mel Gibson, Robin Wright Penn, Katie… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 39%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"... it is just a little bit too much of a disjointed mess."
‑ Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper
"It stands completely on Downey's tragi-comic performance, although the rest of the cast -- particularly Penn and Gibson -- do good work as well."
‑ Tom Long, Detroit News
"The film's colorful song-and-dance set pieces rely on lip-synced '50s songs that are the weakest link in a bumbling but gregarious movie."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"The concept is clever, but the film's parts don't fit well and the main character is one of the least likable you'll find."
‑ Forrest Hartman, Reno Gazette-Journal
"Potter's gaze into the man's dark sexual and familial secrets isn't about one man's oppression, but about his self-imposed melodrama."
‑ Jeremiah Kipp, Slant Magazine
"When I saw it at Sundance, my attention was divided because I was trying to process the meaning of the jagged structure. Seeing it again a week ago, knowing what to expect, I found it a more moving experience."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Although the miniseries spent time developing the strands of the interwoven stories, the movie flits from idea to idea and plays like a chaotic, failed experiment."
‑ Bill Muller, Arizona Republic
"Inventive mess, filled with pock marks."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"The Singing Detective is like a dream that you are still a little confused by when you wake up. It's not for everyone, but it's a fun ride if you dive in face first."
‑ Jeff Otto, IGN Movies
"A flawed yet mesmerizing adaptation of the 1986 BBC mini-series."
‑ Kim Linekin, eye WEEKLY
"The Singing Detective has to settle for a hung jury."
‑ Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press
"If the movie doesn't really work, it's because it's a hard piece to bring off, an extremely high mark to hit. Still, enough magic is left, especially in Downey's performance, to shock and beguile us."
‑ Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
"The first two thirds are a lot of fun and a showcase for Robert Downey Jr.'s immense talents."
‑ Ryan Cracknell, Apollo Guide
"Worth seeing on the basis of its cast alone, although the characters being played are often so impressionistic, even the superstar lineup ends up being a bit distracting."
‑ James Verniere, Boston Herald
"Zany comic relief moments hold th film together when you might otherwise be, well, itching to flee the theater."
‑ Prairie Miller, Long Island Press
More reviews for The Singing Detective on Rotten Tomatoes