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Overall Rating
3.35

Awesome31.37%
Worth A Look: 29.41%
Average: 3.92%
Pretty Bad: 13.73%
Total Crap: 21.57%

4 reviews, 27 user ratings


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Singing Detective, The (2003)
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by EricDSnider

"Get back on the drugs, Downey. You need them."
2 stars

By the time Keith Gordon's odd, extremely stylized remake of "The Singing Detective" gets around to its point, the audience is liable to be angry at it for dragging its feet so long, and for being so weird in the process. At least, that was my reaction, when I could muster any reaction beyond simple boredom.

"The Singing Detective," based on a beloved 1986 miniseries, is about an author named Dan Dark (Robert Downey Jr.) who suffers from a debilitating skin disease that has rendered him even more hateful and misogynistic than he used to be. His books are about a singing detective who, in a surprising move, is Dark's alter ego! And his fiction reflects his own feelings!

Downey's performance is rather good, moving between rage and sadness without warning, and the makeup work on him is pretty impressive. Mel Gibson is interesting as a peculiar psychiatrist who examines Dark. So no, the performances are not the problem here.

It's the style that does the film in. Dark hallucinates several musical numbers, generally of 1950s prototypical rock 'n' roll songs (already problematic, since the genre of the film is more detective noir, which is '40s). These are not staged with any particular imagination or wit, nor do they have anything to do with the story or characters at hand. They seem almost 100 percent random, and they appear at random times.

Furthermore, the film is all about Dan Dark sorting through issues that we figure out long before he does. It is a slow-moving, uneventful detective story, mixed with the only slightly more compelling story of Dan Dark and his gross skin.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6822&reviewer=247
originally posted: 06/21/03 10:08:59
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Chicago Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/28/11 millersxing Freddy Krueger's back and he's got a new nightmare! 1 stars
8/04/06 Agent Sands Good cast, nice soundtrack. 'S about it. Not very tightly done. 3 stars
5/08/04 tatum Really treats the audience like drones, "you won't get this, so just shut up" 1 stars
5/03/04 carlos eduardo muñoz buena 5 stars
4/14/04 paul too good to put in words 5 stars
12/18/03 maria gonzalez I love it. Robert Downey is a great actor 5 stars
12/07/03 Lyric Robert Downey Jr is the MAN!!!!!! 5 stars
11/30/03 jmsynth Only 12 people in cinema. When I left after 30 mins, 3 remained. Worst Film Ever! 1 stars
11/26/03 costars Fun, Funny, Beautiful, Imaginative & Fascinating 5 stars
11/22/03 john splendid, captivating, Downey and Penn lovely etc. 5 stars
11/18/03 he a great film 5 stars
11/15/03 Karol Sucks is too good a word for this crap!! 1 stars
11/11/03 Cameron Slick You have to see it to believe it, and even that isn’t a guarantee. 3 stars
11/09/03 T Leonard White Extraordinary performance by Downey 5 stars
10/28/03 Stephanie The absolute WORST movie I have ever seen in my entire life. 1 stars
10/13/03 Patty K Challenging, weird, and great. Downey is amazing. 5 stars
10/10/03 fay ubertin loved this movie dementia without reserve. Robert Downey Jr. is a comic genius 4 stars
9/10/03 Tory Great acting 5 stars
6/23/03 Smiley Hit or Miss. It was a hit with me. Manifold sub plots and themes to challenge the viewer. 5 stars
6/19/03 Kino My favorite film from Sundance 2003 5 stars
6/06/03 Ed Funny, odd, moving, terrific 5 stars
5/22/03 jason smyth Awesome. thankfully not the usual hollywood crap 5 stars
2/20/03 Cray Z A Fever Dream! 5 stars
2/12/03 SusanS Fascinating and original. Slow spots. 4 stars
2/04/03 ahmad goooog 5 stars
1/25/03 Buddha The hell he is. What laborious crap. 2 stars
1/25/03 Gino Lambretta No, no, no, this reviewer is incorrect 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  24-Oct-2003 (R)
  DVD: 23-Mar-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  08-Jul-2004 (M)




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