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critics consensus

Delightful performance from Robert Downey Jr. can't save The Singing Detective's transition from TV to the big screen. Read critic reviews

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The Singing Detective Photos

Movie Info

Hospitalized for a severe skin disease, a bitter writer (Robert Downey Jr.) imagines he is the gumshoe from his novel.

Cast & Crew

Robin Wright
Nicola, Nina, Blonde
Mel Gibson
Dr. Gibbon
Katie Holmes
Nurse Mills
Adrien Brody
First Hood
Jon Polito
Second Hood
Carla Gugino
Betty Dark, Hooker
Saul Rubinek
Skin Specialist
Alfre Woodard
Chief of Staff
Amy Aquino
Nurse Nozhki
David Dorfman
Young Dan Dark
Eddie Jones
Moonglow Bartender
Lily Knight
Woman Physiotherapist
Clyde Kusatsu
Visiting Japanese Doctor
Stan Wlodkowski
Executive Producer
Tom Richmond
Director of Photography
Patricia Norris
Production Designer
Patricia Norris
Costume Designer
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Critic Reviews for The Singing Detective

All Critics (108) | Top Critics (29) | Fresh (42) | Rotten (66)

Audience Reviews for The Singing Detective

  • Nov 25, 2012
    A great performance by Robert Downey Jr., an early Katie Holmes role and a small part played by a heavily made-up Mel Gibson do their best, but they don't save this film from its sheer weirdness. Four words: lip-synched ensemble musical numbers. When it cut to action from the novel our hero (Downey Jr.) has written, I really liked the visual style, and overall, the story told in flashbacks is well-done, near-perfect noir, in fact; when it steps outside the frame, however, and tells the present day story - with the characters from the books interfering in some strange meta-fictional way - it loses its momentum, getting downright hammy in places. And then, there are the musical numbers... An ambitious film, but I'm not sure I mean it as a compliment; Joe Baltake probably said it best when he called this one an "interesting failure." Check it out, if for no other reason than this: it's different than most everything else you're watching.
    Daniel P Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2011
    Fragmented narrative, dreamy visuals, bizarre music scenes - none of that matters because no matter how confusing or stupid things get there's Mr. Downey Jr. letting everyone know this movie is his. His performance is remarkable as is the supporting cast. However, for all its gimmicky hipness that gets old fast and stays that way, sort of like Willie Nelson, 'The Singing Detective' doesn't seem to want to have depth or do much with the noir aspect, while treating the noir parts of the movie like a person who has seen maybe a dozen and read one Chandler novel. This could have been great.
    Jonny B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 05, 2011
    total mess of a film and a giant waste of talent
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Mar 04, 2011
    The film is with the broad supports that are an exhilarating Robert Downey, Jr. and the solid lines he's given. However, the film unfortunately collapses under the pressure of little development, forced and poorly done musical numbers, repetition, inconsistancy and, of course, extreme underwhelmingness. In conclusion, the superb man of the hour doesn't quite keep the notes of "The Singing Detective" from falling flat.
    Cameron J Super Reviewer

The Singing Detective Quotes

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