The Singing Detective (film)
|The Singing Detective|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Keith Gordon|
|Produced by||Bruce Davey
|Screenplay by||Dennis Potter|
|Based on||The Singing Detective
by Dennis Potter
|Starring||Robert Downey, Jr.
Robin Wright Penn
|Editing by||Jeff Wishengrad|
|Distributed by||Paramount Classics|
|Running time||108 minutes|
The Singing Detective is a 2003 American musical comedy crime film directed by Keith Gordon and based on the BBC serial of the same name, a work by British writer Dennis Potter. It stars Robert Downey, Jr. and features a supporting cast that includes Katie Holmes, Adrien Brody, Robin Wright Penn, and Mel Gibson, as well as a number of songs from the 1950s.
Suffering from the skin disease psoriasis and crippling psoriatic arthritis, detective novelist Dan Dark is in such pain in a hospital that he begins to delve into fantasy, resulting in several storylines told simultaneously:
- A film noir based on Dark's novel, The Singing Detective, in which a nightclub singer/private eye, hired by Mark Binney, takes on a strange case involving prostitutes and two mysterious men. Nothing is ever solved from this, only a vague plot. Notably, all of the people in the film noir are played by people who are real people in Dark's life; for example, Dark's nurse plays a singer.
- The present reality, in which Dark is tormented by incredible pain. Dark interacts with the various people around him, as the doctors and nurses attempt to help, but are dismissed by Dark's anger and bitterness towards everyone. His sense of reality then collapses into hallucinations as the people randomly sing choreographed musical numbers, such as "How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?" In the end, his reality is blended with the film noir and he is abducted by the two mysterious men, only to be shot by the titular "singing detective".
- Dark's traumatic childhood in the past, which explains Dark's repulsion toward sexuality (Dark had watched his mother have sex with other men, including his father's business partner), and his own fiery temper.
- Robert Downey, Jr. as Dan Dark
- Robin Wright Penn as Nicola / Nina / Blonde
- Mel Gibson as Dr. Gibbon
- Jeremy Northam as Mark Binney
- Katie Holmes as Nurse Mills
- Adrien Brody as First Hood
- Jon Polito as Second Hood
- Carla Gugino as Betty Dark / Hooker
- Saul Rubinek as Skin Specialist
- Alfre Woodard as Chief of Staff
- Amy Aquino as Nurse Nozhki
- David Dorfman as Young Dan Dark
- Eddie Jones as Moonglow Bartender
- Clyde Kusatsu as Visiting Japanese Doctor
Potter's screenplay had been circulating in Hollywood for many years as Potter was enthusiastic about a film version. Robert Altman was at one time attached to direct with Dustin Hoffman in the lead, but financing proved difficult and the production was shelved. It was eventually discovered by an executive at Mel Gibson's production company, who loved it and got Gibson on board to produce. The screenplay had also been imagined as a movie directed by horror veteran David Cronenberg and starring Al Pacino as the title character.
The film scored a 39% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus being 'Delightful performance from Robert Downey Jr. can't save The Singing Detective's transition from TV to the big screen'. While some critics, such as Roger Ebert, liked the film, others, like Joe Baltake at the Sacramento Bee, considered it an "interesting failure".
- "The Singing Detective". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
- "The Singing Detective (2003) - Box office / business". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
- "The Singing Detective (2003)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
- Internet Movie Database
- The Singing Detective - Rotten Tomatoes
- Rotten Tomatoes website
- The Singing Detective at the Internet Movie Database
- The Singing Detective at allmovie
- The Singing Detective at Box Office Mojo
- The Singing Detective at Rotten Tomatoes
- Senses of Cinema review