The Singing Detective

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Released 2003

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Movie Summary

Director:
Keith Gordon
Released:
2003
Rating:
R

The Singing Detective is a comedic detective film directed by Keith Gordon based on the BBC miniseries of the same name that centers on detective novelist Dan Dark (Robert Downey Jr. as an internment in a hospital for crippling pain pushes him to slowly slip into a fantasy world portraying the film noir of his detective novels. Reality holds nothing but pain, anger, and bitterness as doctors and nurses try to help him battle psoriasis and debilitating arthritis. As it gets worse, he filters between memories of his traumatic past, hallucinations of choreographed musical numbers in the hospital, and a mysterious case involving prostitutes and a number of murders in 1950s Los Angeles. Reality blends into fantasy just as fantasy blends into reality with all of the people in Dark's reality, including his nurses (Katie Holmes, Amy Aquino) and doctors (Mel Gibson, Saul Rubinstein, Alfre Woodard), become players in the noir.

Metacritic Score

  • 60

    Variety Dennis Harvey

    Potter's genius for wrapping black humor, poignancy and fantasy in utterly original story concepts lends this "Detective" an immediate fascination that doesn't begin wearing off fo...

  • 50

    The New York Times Dana Stevens

    Lurches when it should glide, shouts when it should whisper and mumbles when it should sing.

  • 50

    Los Angeles Times Kevin Thomas

    Too flat and academic to come alive. The film's lack of dimension tends to render much of it banal, and Downey's lengthy harangues, as beautifully wrought as they are, are overly l...

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