5.6/10
7,151
79 user 65 critic

The Singing Detective (2003)

Trailer
2:27 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (television series)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Paparazzi (2004)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A rising Hollywood actor decides to take personal revenge against a group of four persistent photographers to make them pay for almost causing a personal tragedy involving his wife and son.

Director: Paul Abascal
Stars: Cole Hauser, Robin Tunney, Dennis Farina
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Tragi-comic, romantic whodunnit set in a run down hotel which plays host to mentally ill people too poor to afford medical insurance.

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Jeremy Davies, Milla Jovovich, Mel Gibson
Air America (1990)
Action | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A young pilot finds himself recruited unwittingly into a covert and corrupt CIA airlift organization operating in Vietnam War Era Laos.

Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Stars: Mel Gibson, Robert Downey Jr., Nancy Travis
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Two girls, Carla and Lou meet on the street outside a loft waiting for their boyfriends. In a short time, they find out that they're waiting for the same guy - young actor Blake, who said ... See full summary »

Director: James Toback
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Heather Graham, Natasha Gregson Wagner
Drama | Musical | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

Tormented and bedridden by a debilitating disease, a mystery writer relives his detective stories through his imagination and hallucinations.

Stars: Michael Gambon, Patrick Malahide, Joanne Whalley
Complete Savages (2004–2005)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A single dad is trying to bring up his unruly sons on his own, as well as work as a fireman with his brother Jimmy, after their mother ran off 10 years before.

Stars: Keith Carradine, Erik von Detten, Andrew Eiden
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Turning her back on her wealthy, established family, Diane Arbus falls in love with Lionel Sweeney, an enigmatic mentor who introduces Arbus to the marginalized people who help her become one of the most revered photographers of the twentieth century.

Director: Steven Shainberg
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Robert Downey Jr., Ty Burrell
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Chuck wants to leave home but can't make the grade for boarding school. Then he finds out the disfigured recluse living nearby is an ex-teacher.

Director: Mel Gibson
Stars: Mel Gibson, Nick Stahl, Margaret Whitton
The Beaver (2011)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A troubled husband and executive adopts a beaver hand-puppet as his sole means of communicating.

Director: Jodie Foster
Stars: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

As homicide detective Thomas Craven investigates the death of his activist daughter, he uncovers not only her secret life, but a corporate cover-up and government collusion that attracts an agent tasked with cleaning up the evidence.

Director: Martin Campbell
Stars: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston
Mrs. Soffel (1984)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Peter Soffel is the stuffy warden of a remote American prison around the turn of the century. His wife, Kate, finds herself attracted to prisoner Ed Biddle. She abandons her husband and ... See full summary »

Director: Gillian Armstrong
Stars: Diane Keaton, Mel Gibson, Matthew Modine
The River (1984)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A farming family battles severe storms, a bank is threatening to repossess their farm, and there are other hard times in a battle to save and hold on to their farm.

Director: Mark Rydell
Stars: Mel Gibson, Sissy Spacek, Shane Bailey
Edit

Cast

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
...
Woman Physiotherapist
...
Visiting Japanese Doctor
Edit

Storyline

"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

Taglines:

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:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 November 2003 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

El detective cantante  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$336,456 (USA) (30 January 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Keith Gordon and Robert Downey Jr. previously worked together in the 1986 movie Back to School (1986). At the time, Keith Gordon was acting not directing. See more »

Goofs

When the First Hood and Second Hood are driving away in their vintage car in the 1940s, you can clearly see the reflection of a lit, modern, Los Angeles skyscraper in the window of the backseat. See more »

Quotes

Dan Dark: When you're dealing with the devil praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

In My Dreams
Written by Bernice Bedwell
Used by Permission of Song Productions (BMI)
Performed by Robert Downey Jr.
Produced and Arranged by Ryan Rehm & Jonathan Elias
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
An Outsider's View
7 June 2005 | by (Vulcan) – See all my reviews

I have neither read the novel nor seen the original mini-series. A relative was enthralled with both, so seeing this listed on my cable guide I decided to give it a shot. I knew only the basic premise - that the film would be centered around a writer of pulp detective fiction who fantasizes about the lives of his characters as a way to escape his debilitating chronic skin disease. This was a good impression to enter this movie with, though far from complete. The 'singing detective' is the main character in Dan Dark's first novel, and an imaginary alter-ego existing in a seedy film-noir world of pulp fiction, in which Dark has encoded all of the traumas of his emotionally disturbing life. Meanwhile, Dark himself lies in a hospital bed incapacitated by some form of chronic leprosy and spreading a message of hate to everybody who dares to try to help him. The film focuses - though rather impressionistically - on Dan Dark's psychological journey during a prolonged hospital stay.

Without the background most viewers of this film might approach it with, I can only view it as an outsider, judging it only on its own merits. There are a few major problems which immediately come to mind. First - The Singing Detective is slated as a comedy. While I suppose some people might see it as a dark comedy, I am afraid that I found none of it funny whatsoever. Obnoxious, mean-spirited verbal violence does not amuse me. Second - though I do not have the insider perspective needed to support this idea (I haven't even read any IMDb reviews of this film), I suspect that the film leaves a lot of the development of its basic theme - of healing - out. Paradoxically, this problem seems to develop because of the nearly exclusive focus on Downey's deeply disturbed and paranoid character Dark, and his hospital antics. Yes, he's a very difficult patient - we get that right away - but is it necessary to drive it home scene after scene after scene? Downey's Dark is a blend of Woody Allen and Dustin Hoffman's Rainman, while his "Singing Detective" is a cold-fish hybrid of Humphrey Bogart, Bob Mitchum and all of the other noir detectives ever seen on the big screen. And he sings (this is a fact which is neither explained nor well-developed, but I am sure that the silly 1950s RnR tunes are the only venue for positive emotions the character allows himself). Downey's performances are, as usual, good, but they fail to sustain the entire film (which they are, unfortunately, asked to do). Mel Gibson, playing the hospital psychoanalyst, steals the show, despite his decidedly minor though important role. The rest - the pretty young nurse, the ambiguous wife, and the characters inhabiting Dark's fantasies and later his hallucinations are all well written and performed, but fail to compensate for the somewhat dull development of the central theme.

Good films based on unfamiliar literary works always make me want to read the original material (Master and Commander, The World According to Garp, and Bladerunner are some examples). When I see a good film based on a book I am familiar with (LOTR, Cider House Rules, Minority Report, The Shining, Solaris, for example) I approach it with a head full of expectations. With this film, I had only a palm full of expectations, and, though my review may sound negative, I was pleasantly surprised. The film dove unexpectedly deep, but in the end, came up a little empty-handed for me. Nor did I expect the film to be as breezily entertaining as it was. Balancing breezy entertainment and deep psychological drama (not to mention literary comedy and plenty of music) is a difficult task. Though The Singing Detective ultimately fails in this ambitious goal, it is still worth seeing, if nothing else, as an appetizer for the mini-series - which I will borrow from my relative post-haste.


20 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
This film is terrible! netservice22
KATIE HOLMES fishnuts45
This better be good mj-31
Connection To Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang? fotikatsny
Exactly what was Dan Dark hospitalized for? alexliu_1999
Katie Holmes questions splaj109
Discuss The Singing Detective (2003) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?