The Singing Detective (2003)

R  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Musical  |  14 November 2003 (UK)
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 6,936 users   Metascore: 45/100
Reviews: 78 user | 66 critic | 33 from

From his hospital bed, a writer suffering from a skin disease hallucinates musical numbers and paranoid plots.



(screenplay), (television series)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicola / Nina / Blonde (as Robin Wright Penn)
First Hood
Second Hood
Betty Dark / Hooker
Skin Specialist
Chief of Staff
Moonglow Bartender
Lily Knight ...
Woman Physiotherapist
Visiting Japanese Doctor


"While hospitalized with an extreme case of psoriasis, novelist Dan Dark reworks his first book in his head. Feverish, paranoid and prone to musical outbreaks, he confuses himself with his protagonist, a detective investigating the murder of a prostitute in 1950s Los Angeles." Written by Mag-Helder Thélot

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


When it comes to murder, seduction and betrayal he wrote the book. Now he's living it!

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 November 2003 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

El detective cantante  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$28,324 (USA) (24 October 2003)


$336,456 (USA) (30 January 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


At one point, David Cronenberg was in line to direct the film, with Al Pacino in the lead. See more »


The position of Dark's gun hand when he chases the goons into the street after they try to kill him in the nightclub. See more »


Dan Dark: So, what's the story? Who's the dame?
Mark Binney: How'd you know there's a dame?
Dan Dark: There's always a dame.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credits we see Robert Downey Jr. perform the song "In My Dreams" See more »


Remake of The Singing Detective (1986) See more »


Woman Love
Written by Jack Rhodes
Published by Trio Music Company, Inc. (BMI); Fort Knox Music, Inc. (BMI); Beechwood Music Corp. (BMI)
Performed by Gene Vincent
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
See more »

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User Reviews

An imperfect film for an imperfect world
12 July 2004 | by (Sacramento, CA) – See all my reviews

Hey, I liked it. There were good things: Gibson unrecognizable as the shrink, Downey at his best, whacky story, pastiches of film noir, mind mystique, Touches of Freud, Jung... but it's not perfect. Some confusions persist: Downey as the frustrated, nonintrospective, horny writer whose imagination has taken over his life is often whining. His round-heeled mother has few redeeming features, the shifts between real and irrealis is jerky..., and so on. It's easy to find fault with a complex tale and one in which there are so many loose ends and ravelings but what do you take away with you when it's all said and done? Reading through the comments here, I came across the usual "I didn't like this..." and "I didn't like that..." comments. OK. Not every one likes pistachio ice cream. I love to see, hear and consider other views because it makes me reexamine my own impressions. Of interest to me was the recurring theme of confusion in these commentaries. I shared much of that because of the less than smooth transitions in the switches to irreality and the flashbacks. In films where the observers are given admittance to the inside of the performer's head, must be a melange of images, themes and mini-scenes because, alas, that's the way the mind works. So, from an audience perspective, it works for some and won't for others because, alas again, that is the way OUR minds work. Sorry to wax so psychiatrically but films like this one, as imperfect as it is, can tell us a lot about ourselves.

27 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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