5.6/10
7,057
78 user 66 critic

The Singing Detective (2003)

Trailer
2:27 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 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... 

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
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
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
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
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 | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Los Angeles advertisement director Max visits his friend, artist Charlie, who was diagnosed with A.I.D.S. in New York. There he meets Karen, they are attracted to each other and after they ... See full summary »

Director: Mike Figgis
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Nastassja Kinski, Kyle MacLachlan
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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The movie is a coming-of-age drama about a boy growing up in Astoria, N.Y., during the 1980s. As his friends end up dead, on drugs or in prison, he comes to believe he has been saved from their fate by various so-called saints.

Director: Dito Montiel
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Rosario Dawson, Shia LaBeouf
Wonder Boys (2000)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An English Professor tries to deal with his wife leaving him, the arrival of his editor who has been waiting for his book for seven years, and the various problems that his friends and associates involve him in.

Director: Curtis Hanson
Stars: Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire, Frances McDormand
Lucky You (2007)
Drama | Romance | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A hotshot poker player tries to win a tournament in Vegas, but is fighting a losing battle with his personal problems.

Director: Curtis Hanson
Stars: Eric Bana, Drew Barrymore, Robert Duvall
Black & White I (1999)
Crime | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

A group of white high school teens become involved with Harlem's black hip-hop crowd.

Director: James Toback
Stars: Ben Stiller, Allan Houston, Claudia Schiffer
The Soloist (2009)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A Los Angeles journalist befriends a homeless Juilliard-trained musician, while looking for a new article for the paper.

Director: Joe Wright
Stars: Jamie Foxx, Robert Downey Jr., Catherine Keener
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

At one point, David Cronenberg was in line to direct the film, with Al Pacino in the lead. 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: There are things in that book, doc, that are reaching out to grab me by the throat.
Dr. Gibbon: Why don't you let them?
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Remake of The Singing Detective (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Flip Flop And Fly
Written by Charles F. Calhoun (as Charles Calhoun) and Lou Willie Turner
Published by Unichappell Music, Inc. (BMI)
Performed by Big Joe Turner
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Comparisons with earlier version unfair
2 January 2006 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

I saw this film as part of a process of educating myself about the career of Robert Downey Jr after seeing his remarkable performance in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and realising to my shame that I could recall seeing him in Chaplin but not much else. I have been working my way through his films and I am staggered at the range and depth of his talent, even in mediocre films (and he has made a few). But one can only agree with New Yorker critic Anthony Lane who wrote recently 'I'll watch him in anything'.

I disagree vehemently with those who've compared this Singing Detective unfavourably with the earlier version. I saw the original on television here in Australia when it was first screened, and it was indeed a great piece of television (though I preferred Pennies from Heaven which launched the international career of Bob Hoskins and was given a bad Hollywood remake). It's important to remember that Dennis Potter himself wrote this script, specifically for a shorter film version, and was keen to see it made. The dissenters should rent the DVD and listen to director Keith Gordon's commentary if they are in any doubt that it is faithful to the spirit of Potter's intentions and his written word.

The casting of Downey is a stroke of genius. Because he is a younger and very attractive man, the gross disfigurement of his character with psoriasis is infinitely more poignant than when the part was played by Michael Gambon - even when the Dan Dark character is behaving like a total bastard. His performance is extraordinary: the sublety of his mood changes and facial reactions, and the pathos he draws out of this trapped character (without a hint of schmaltz) just leap off the screen (even more remarkable given that for some of the time he was wearing makeup that took hours to apply and initially caused a bad skin reaction;and that he was under threat of returning to jail on drugs charges, which is why the film had to be shot in LA rather than Chicago

  • he was not allowed to leave LA).




I guess Downey's messy private life is one of the reasons he's such an interesting and complex actor. One can only hope that other brave producers will take a punt give him the big meaty parts that his talent deserves.

Don't let the nay sayers dissuade you from seeing this film; it's great. Mel Gibson is (thankfully, for me) unrecognisable and the scenes between him and Downey are terrific. The supporting cast is uniformly excellent.


23 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:
?