Critic Reviews

45

Metascore

Based on 33 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
75
ReelViews
Works not primarily because it's a strange and original brew, but because it accomplishes its goals without seeming to force things. The blending of reality with dreams, memories, and imagination is done flawlessly.
67
Entertainment Weekly
Robert Downey Jr. is great in a role no one less magnetically reckless would dare approach.
60
Film Threat
A genuinely brilliant cast--Robin Wright Penn and Katie Holmes are especially notable--distinctive camerawork, and terrific art design all contribute to this unique blend of fantasy and reality that truly transports the viewer to a magical realm.
60
New York Magazine (Vulture)
It’s powerful, all right, and Downey’s performance is lacerating, but missing is any sense of lyricism in Dark’s hallucinatory yearnings. Without that leap of transcendence, this new Singing Detective doesn’t sing.
60
Variety
Potter's genius for wrapping black humor, poignancy and fantasy in utterly original story concepts lends this "Detective" an immediate fascination that doesn't begin wearing off for some time.
50
The Hollywood Reporter
Keith Gordon's brave attempt to make cinematic sense of Potter's 1986 BBC mini "The Singing Detective" at least has the advantage of a screenplay finished by Potter before his death. But problems of style and tone bedevil the earnest effort.
50
Village Voice
The problems come in the shadow world, where everything's a jumble, where Dark's compositional strategy ("all clues and no solutions") eventually becomes wearing, and Gordon's direction can't hold it all together.
50
Potter's trademark devices are all present, including the way characters burst into songs lip-synced to vintage recordings on the sound track.
40
L.A. Weekly
The problem for director Keith Gordon is that Potter's script pares down to virtual nothing the very narrative threads that allowed us, in the full-length version, to identify with his prickly protagonist, and knocks us upside the head with a hyperkinetic, disorienting first act from which audiences -- especially those approaching this material cold -- are unlikely to recover.
30
The A.V. Club
What this Singing Detective really needed was to be reworked top to bottom, preferably by a writer fleeing some demons of his own.

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