The Singing Detective

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Mixed or average reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 16 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: The story of a crime novelist (Downey Jr.) who, languishing in his hospital bed, occupies his time by mapping out a screenplay in his head about a cynical private investigator who doubles as a singer in a dance band. (Paramount Classics)


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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 33
  2. Negative: 4 out of 33
  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. Robert Downey Jr. is great in a role no one less magnetically reckless would dare approach.
  3. Try to forget about Michael Gambon in Potter's original BBC miniseries; Keith Gordon's film is its own thing, full of Brechtian artifice and oddball humor -- Mel Gibson's old man act in particular.
  4. You don't mess with perfection. That is the main reason why The Singing Detective, a virtual remake of the ­brilliant BBC-TV series of the 80s, falls flat on its psoriatic face.
  5. 50
    The problems come in the shadow world, where everything's a jumble, where Dark's compositional strategy ("all clues and no solutions") eventually becomes wearing, and Gordon's direction can't hold it all together.
  6. Reviewed by: Damon Wise
    Where Gambon made the perfect misanthrope, Downey doesn't quite fit the role. Astonishingly, despite his drug-related crimes and misdemeanours, he actually seems too innocent to be so crabby and vile.
  7. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Downey is undone by a woefully amateurish production that, sadly and ironically, looks like a cheap TV show.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

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.

See all 4 User Reviews