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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 29.41%
Just Average: 3.92%
Pretty Crappy: 13.73%
Sucks: 21.57%

4 reviews, 27 user ratings

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Singing Detective, The (2003)
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by Greg Muskewitz

"Muddled infusions."
4 stars

A splintered narrative of the present-day Robert Downey, Jr. suffering from psoriasis, reflections of his troubled childhood (explaining the source of his misogyny), and the confused mental rememberings of his pulp novels, casting himself as the singing detective and incorporating other biographical instances throughout.

That none of these together add up together as a whole film, viewed in context by their assembly, comes as no surprise given their disproportionate treatment, dissimilar styles, and lack of general organization. But that it doesn’t fail miserably doing so (and that it works so hard to try and gel), it is still a bit of strange entertainment. (And who’s to say if the combo of the three didn’t work, another variation or separation of a singular storyline wouldn’t have.) Using a script from Dennis Potter, who re-imagined it from his own BBC television series, Keith Gordon (Waking the Dead) has such a hodgepodge on his hands, that it’s bound to be messy. There are some tricky and clever workings in how Dan Dark’s (Downey, Jr.) past influences the pulpy gumshoe novels he writes, and it nicely conveys his psychology in viewing how he was affected, into his creative outlet. Recalling Alain Resnais’ Same Old Song, conceived as a tribute to Potter, the movie has random outbursts into song — and here, dance — where Dark imagines himself as the singing detective, crooning away on stage, or dipping into Freudian subconscious prior to being lubed up in cream by an orderly. (A very funny scene for Katie Holmes.) While the present scenes are tougher to sand down in their spewing of hatred and anger, and all the time trying not to alienate the recalcitrant Dark from redemption, it also features a good rhythm, filmed and spoken in a brisk pace, between Downey, Jr. and Mel Gibson as a prinked up therapist. But the most muddled infusion in the rotation of realities, is the actual detective storyline, too impalpable from its influences to have enough of an impact, split with its bleeding into the present-day hospital stay and a Waiting for Godot-like duo of gangsters running around as anachronisms. The Singing Detective looks nicely polished, brightly and softly filmed, but it stretches across all of the storylines when perhaps it should only decorate the fantasy sequences so well. With Robin Wright Penn, Jeremy Northam, Adrien Brody, Jon Polito, Carla Gugino, Saul Rubinek, and Alfre Woodard.


link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=6822&reviewer=172
originally posted: 05/12/04 17:56:41
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Chicago Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/27/11 millersxing Freddy Krueger's back and he's got a new nightmare! 1 stars
8/03/06 Agent Sands Good cast, nice soundtrack. 'S about it. Not very tightly done. 3 stars
5/07/04 tatum Really treats the audience like drones, "you won't get this, so just shut up" 1 stars
5/02/04 carlos eduardo muńoz buena 5 stars
4/13/04 paul too good to put in words 5 stars
12/17/03 maria gonzalez I love it. Robert Downey is a great actor 5 stars
12/06/03 Lyric Robert Downey Jr is the MAN!!!!!! 5 stars
11/29/03 jmsynth Only 12 people in cinema. When I left after 30 mins, 3 remained. Worst Film Ever! 1 stars
11/25/03 costars Fun, Funny, Beautiful, Imaginative & Fascinating 5 stars
11/22/03 john splendid, captivating, Downey and Penn lovely etc. 5 stars
11/17/03 he a great film 5 stars
11/14/03 Karol Sucks is too good a word for this crap!! 1 stars
11/10/03 Cameron Slick You have to see it to believe it, and even that isn’t a guarantee. 3 stars
11/08/03 T Leonard White Extraordinary performance by Downey 5 stars
10/27/03 Stephanie The absolute WORST movie I have ever seen in my entire life. 1 stars
10/12/03 Patty K Challenging, weird, and great. Downey is amazing. 5 stars
10/09/03 fay ubertin loved this movie dementia without reserve. Robert Downey Jr. is a comic genius 4 stars
9/09/03 Tory Great acting 5 stars
6/23/03 Smiley Hit or Miss. It was a hit with me. Manifold sub plots and themes to challenge the viewer. 5 stars
6/19/03 Kino My favorite film from Sundance 2003 5 stars
6/06/03 Ed Funny, odd, moving, terrific 5 stars
5/21/03 jason smyth Awesome. thankfully not the usual hollywood crap 5 stars
2/19/03 Cray Z A Fever Dream! 5 stars
2/11/03 SusanS Fascinating and original. Slow spots. 4 stars
2/03/03 ahmad goooog 5 stars
1/24/03 Buddha The hell he is. What laborious crap. 2 stars
1/24/03 Gino Lambretta No, no, no, this reviewer is incorrect 4 stars
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  24-Oct-2003 (R)
  DVD: 23-Mar-2004


  08-Jul-2004 (M)

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