MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 418 this week

The Singing Detective (2003)

R  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Musical  |  14 November 2003 (UK)
5.6
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 5.6/10 from 6,783 users   Metascore: 45/100
Reviews: 77 user | 65 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

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

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (television series)
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

IMDb Picks: May

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in May, sponsored by COVERGIRL.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 46 titles
created 01 Jun 2012
 
a list of 44 titles
created 12 Jun 2012
 
a list of 40 titles
created 23 Feb 2013
 
a list of 29 titles
created 10 months ago
 
a list of 23 titles
created 3 months ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Singing Detective (2003)

The Singing Detective (2003) on IMDb 5.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Singing Detective.
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Paparazzi (2004)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    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
The Singing Detective (TV Mini-Series 1986)
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
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 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
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
Game 6 (2005)
Comedy | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Combining real and fictional events, Game 6 centers around the historic 1986 World Series and a day in the life of a playwright who skips opening night to watch the momentous game.

Director: Michael Hoffman
Stars: Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Griffin Dunne
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
Drama | Romance | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.5/10 X  

Friends for ten years, a group of twenty-somethings head for the ski slopes as guests of Ian's father. (Ian and dad are estranged because dad worked too many hours when Ian was a lad.) Dad ... See full summary »

Director: George Haas
Stars: Stephen Baldwin, Danny Nucci, George Newbern
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
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A group of Australian commandos launch a secret mission against Japanese forces in World War II.

Director: Tim Burstall
Stars: John Phillip Law, Mel Gibson, Sam Neill
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
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.8/10 X  

When Pete Connely is dumped by his girlfriend, he is sentenced to a surrealistic, male-bonding prison known as The Chili Con Carne Club. Features Mel Gibson stars Kristy Swanson.

Director: Jonathan Kahn
Stars: John Philbin, Kristy Swanson, Martin Charles Warner
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
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
Lily Knight ...
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

Dustin Hoffman was initially attached to the role of Dan Dark when the film was in development. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Dan Dark: Oh, cock, do not crow.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Episode #1.2 (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Poison Ivy
Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Published by Jerry Leiber Music (ASCAP); Mike Stoller Music (ASCAP)
Performed by The Coasters
Courtesy of Elektra Entertainment Group
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Not perfect but interesting at times
10 November 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When 'The Singing Detective' was first produced as a TV mini series in 1986, it had a cumulative running time of well over 400 minutes. In this theatrical remake, the story has been pared down to no more than 106. I haven't seen the original - which enjoyed almost unprecedented critical acclaim in its time - so I have no idea how much of its quality has been lost in its currently truncated form. Hence, I will only be talking about this expurgated version, which stars Robert Downey Jr. and Mel Gibson, both in virtually unrecognizable roles. It should be noted that the screenplay is credited to the late Dennis Potter, the author of the original work, so we can assume that director Keith Gordon simply cut and pasted - though a less charitable person might say 'bowdlerized' - the much longer teleplay.

'The Singing Detective' tells the surrealistic tale of a writer of detective fictions who is suffering from a horrifically painful and disfiguring skin disease. As he lies in his hospital bed, his mind drifts back and forth between reality and fantasy, a hallucinatory condition brought on by fever and his own author's imagination. At times, Dan is acutely aware of his miserable situation in the here and now, with all its attendant physical and psychological agony. At other times he becomes lost in re-enactments of key scenes from his gumshoe fictions, memories of his miserable childhood, and elaborately staged song-and-dance numbers in which the characters lip-synch to musical standards from the '40's and '50's.

Because its style and subject matter are somewhat off-putting at first, 'The Singing Detective' takes a bit of getting used to, but eventually the themes and stylistic elements begin to come together and the film takes off. The irony is that, for all the razzle dazzle of its form and style, the film is at its most intriguing in its quieter, subtler moments when the embittered hospital patient is forced to confront the demons of his own tormented psyche. Dan Dark is a man who obviously prefers the world of fantasy to the cold harshness of an often excruciatingly painful reality. In addition to his debilitating disease, Dan is also haunted by a failed marriage and an often tragic childhood that he tries to 'correct' by entering the world of idealized fiction, one that he can manipulate and control. As the bombastic hospital psychologist figures out, Dan's illness is essentially psychosomatic in nature, one rooted in his inability to accept the realities of life in his own skin. In fact, Dan ultimately discovers that his disease is as much a product of his imagination as the scenarios and characters that make up his fiction. The illness becomes his way of not having to deal with his inner torments. Somewhat paradoxically, his writing becomes a form of therapy for him, helping him to deal with all that unresolved bitterness in his soul. The film is as much about psychological healing as it is about physical healing. Oddly enough, Dan's confrontations with his wife, psychologist and other hospital staff are actually far more interesting than what is happening in his rather puerile imagination. Still, towards the end of the film, when Dan starts to make some profound psychological breakthroughs, the fantasy scenes actually do begin to work and the complex structure pays off.

Downey does a fantastic job bringing Dan to life, conveying both the physical and emotional anguish the character is undergoing. Gibson has a great deal of fun playing the part of a paunchy, balding psychiatrist whose unorthodox methods wind up getting to the root of his belligerent patient's troubles. Robin Wright Penn, Jeremy Northam, Adrian Brody, Katie Homes and Alfre Woodard among others all deliver top notch supporting performances. And special praise must surely go to the large makeup staff whose work here is nothing short of miraculous.

'The Singing Detective' will probably not satisfy die-hard fans of the original lengthy mini series. But for the rest of us who have seen no other version than this one, the film's audacious style and complex themes help the movie ride up and over its not inconsiderable flaws.


49 of 61 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
Exactly what was Dan Dark hospitalized for? alexliu_1999
Katie Holmes questions splaj109
Connection To Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang? fotikatsny
Discuss The Singing Detective (2003) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?