The Singing Detective - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Singing Detective Reviews

November 17, 2003
... it is just a little bit too much of a disjointed mess.
November 14, 2003
When I saw it at Sundance, my attention was divided because I was trying to process the meaning of the jagged structure. Seeing it again a week ago, knowing what to expect, I found it a more moving experience.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
November 14, 2003
The Singing Detective has to settle for a hung jury.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
November 13, 2003
It stands completely on Downey's tragi-comic performance, although the rest of the cast -- particularly Penn and Gibson -- do good work as well.
Read More | Original Score: B
November 13, 2003
Although the miniseries spent time developing the strands of the interwoven stories, the movie flits from idea to idea and plays like a chaotic, failed experiment.
Read More | Original Score: 2/5
November 13, 2003
If the movie doesn't really work, it's because it's a hard piece to bring off, an extremely high mark to hit. Still, enough magic is left, especially in Downey's performance, to shock and beguile us.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
November 8, 2003
Fans of the classic Dennis Potter BBC miniseries: Stay far, far away from this pale, Americanized imitation.
November 7, 2003
Apart from Downey's convincing contribution, the movie feels too contrived, stagy and inorganic to draw any pleasure.
November 7, 2003
It's the kind of movie that was made in the spirit of 'Why not?' and will leave most viewers simply asking, 'Why?'
November 7, 2003
While the general contours of Potter's original story are intact, they've lost all their transitional graces.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
November 7, 2003
It just doesn't work; not as an adaptation of the acclaimed 1980s British television series, nor as a stand-alone movie.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
November 7, 2003
The movie makes its point and still has another hour to go.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
November 7, 2003
Everything works in the beginning, in fact, but the movie spins out of control toward the end.
Read More | Original Score: B-
November 7, 2003
Without the breathing spaces allowed by the long-form, gone are the slow and developing rhythms of the original, its depth of characterization, and its refusal to sentimentalize a really vicious protagonist.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
November 7, 2003
The new Singing Detective mirrors Potter's growth as well as his originality, and moving from television to silver screen feels like a rewarding round trip.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
November 7, 2003
True, Gordon is working from Potter's own adapted script, but it's hard to shake the sense that the writer may simply have been trolling for a Hollywood paycheck.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
November 6, 2003
Although the screenplay is based on one by the late Potter, it feels like 100 pounds of material crammed into a small Ziploc bag.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
November 6, 2003
The Singing Detective gives you the feeling that someone took a handful of disparate films, chucked them into a blender and poured the results onto the screen.
Full Review | Original Score: D
November 6, 2003
Any sober viewers trying to follow this mishmash mystery are going to wish they'd brought along a cache of aspirin.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
October 24, 2003
Virtuoso work by Robert Downey Jr. and an unrecognizable Mel Gibson (who also produced) can't keep The Singing Detective from degenerating into sheer noise.
October 24, 2003
The casting misfires.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
October 23, 2003
It is worth catching The Singing Detective to see the brilliant Robert Downey Jr. in another extraordinary performance.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
October 23, 2003
The movie lurches when it should glide, shouts when it should whisper and mumbles when it should sing.
Read More | Original Score: 2/5
October 23, 2003
For all the amazing lengths Downey and Gibson go to, the two actors seem to exist in a vacuum, for this stiff film is virtually devoid of a sense of texture, flow or wit.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
October 23, 2003
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.
October 22, 2003
Robert Downey Jr. is great in a role no one less magnetically reckless would dare approach.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
October 22, 2003
A fine example of entertainment -- an eclectic mix of drama, film noir, and comedy, with plenty of fantasy musical numbers thrown in for good measure.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
October 21, 2003
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.
February 8, 2003
This is a special film in need of TLC in its marketing.