The Singing Detective

The Singing Detective 2003

In Keith Gordon’s The Singing Detective, re-imagined by Dennis Potter from his classic British miniseries, Dan Dark is a character who gives new meaning to the term “scars of childhood.” A hack writer of detective stories, he has suffered from psoriatic ar…
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MEDIUM LEVEL SEX SCENES, MEDIUM LEVEL COARSE LANGUAGE

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In Keith Gordon’s The Singing Detective, re-imagined by Dennis Potter from his classic British miniseries, Dan Dark is a character who gives new meaning to the term “scars of childhood.” A hack writer of detective stories, he has suffered from psoriatic arthropathy, a crippling disease of the skin and bones, from the time he was eight-years-old. His latest and worst outbreak has landed him in the hospital where he deliriously tries to figure out who he is and how he got to this terrible place in his life.

As his fevered mind mingles real people with his fictional characters, and his past with his present, the film moves in and out of three worlds. There is the present day hospital where Dark is prodded by indifferent doctors and bossy nurses. As one of the bright spots in his bleak life, the kindly Nurse Mills (Katie Holmes) greases his sore body leading to an unexpected comic climax. As his condition grows more desperate, he is dispatched to the charge of the eccentric psychiatrist Dr. Gibbons (Mel Gibson). Initially reluctant to confront his tortured past, Dark is gradually lured out from the “cave in the rocks” under which his spirit has crawled.

Dark is visited in the hospital by his ex-wife (Robin Wright Penn), whom he fears his sleeping with a character from his past and conspiring to steal the screenplay he wrote years ago of his first novel, The Singing Detective. But nothing is exactly what it appears here.

Member Reviews

  • I enjoyed the TV series, but this movie version was far too surrealistic for me. The psychiatrist was good. Dan Dark was too inconsistent for my liking. Robert Downey Jr did a good job of playing him, but the script was inadequate -- too much of what made the TV series what it was got left out of the script.

  • ...well I hired it to watch Mel Gibson, his name is the first on th list, but this movie has nothing to do with him... ...plus nothing good I can write about watching it....

  • It was a very strange movie. I knew in the first 5 minutes that I wouldn't like it, but I forced myself to watch the rest of it. The main character had a skin condition that looks like he has been very badly burnt. He has these weird dream type musical episode that quite often have a sexual theme. There are quite a few well known actors in the movie. I have to admit that I fell asleep while watching it, so I missed a few bits here and there, but it still didn't make any sense to me. I didn't see the point of the movie.

  • This was really quite excellent. Optically rich, Robert Downey shows (in the closing credits) that apart from being a fabulous actor he is a gifted singer too. Having recently rewatched the original TV series I am forced to admit (reluctantly) that this is actually much better. I could barely recognise Mel Gibson.

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