The Singing Detective


Mixed or average reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 33
  2. Negative: 4 out of 33

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Critic Reviews

  1. 75
    The movie does not propose to be a comedy, a musical, a film noir story or a medical account. It proposes to be a subjective view of suffering, and the ways this character tries to cope with it. Understand that, and the pieces fall into place.
  2. 75
    Works not primarily because it's a strange and original brew, but because it accomplishes its goals without seeming to force things. The blending of reality with dreams, memories, and imagination is done flawlessly.
  3. It is worth catching The Singing Detective to see the brilliant Robert Downey Jr. in another extraordinary performance... Unfortunately, the film itself doesn't really work despite its lineage.
  4. 70
    The musical fantasy scenes in the new Singing Detective are raw and purposely amateurish. Although Gordon sometimes fumbles the tonal shifts of the material, the acting is rock solid.
  5. Robert Downey Jr. is great in a role no one less magnetically reckless would dare approach.
  6. At one point, Downey's character is asked, "What are you gonna do with all this rage, this hate?" and he snaps back, "I'll probably just write serious literature." On TV, where the material seemed both serious and literate, that bit of black humour felt prophetic. On film, it's just a good joke.
  7. Despite intelligent, sympathetic direction by Gordon, a brilliant lead performance by Robert Downey Jr. and an adapted script written by Potter himself before his 1991 death, this "Detective" pales next to its predecessor.
  8. I had the sense that Gordon's ambitious, if awkwardly assembled, film had so many terrific ingredients that he felt compelled to use them all. In this case, alas, more is less.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 17 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. AndrewR.
    Aug 10, 2008
    Crazy mental trip.