The Singing Detective

Watch The Singing Detective

"When it comes to murder, seduction and betrayal, he wrote the book. Now he's living it."
  • R
  • 2003
  • 1 hr 49 min
  • 5.4  (8,927)
  • 45

The Singing Detective, directed by Keith Gordon, is a dark comedy film released in 2003. It is a musical and a remake of the 1986 British television series of the same name, written by Dennis Potter. The film stars Robert Downey Jr. as Dan Dark, a successful writer of crime fiction who suffers from a severe case of psoriasis that covers most of his body. The film explores Dark’s troubled mind as his reality and imagination blur together.

The Singing Detective takes place in the late 1940s and early 1950s in Los Angeles, where Dark's psoriasis confines him to a hospital bed for months. As he lies there, Dark starts to have vivid hallucinations about his childhood, his failed marriage, and his current work on a novel. The film follows Dark's hallucinations as they take him through different experiences and characters, including a 1940s-style detective story set in 1950s Los Angeles.

Dark's imagination creates a world full of colorful and outrageous characters who are always singing and dancing. He imagines himself as a detective in a film noir storyline, reflecting his affection for pulp fiction and gumshoe novels. His imagination also fills his memories with musical numbers from the 1940s and 1950s, including songs from the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, and Peggy Lee.

Throughout the film, we see the world through Dark's eyes, and it becomes clear that the reality he experiences is a product of his mind. His delusions and hallucinations are heavily influenced by his memories, and the more he remembers, the clearer his present reality becomes. Dark's struggles with his past, his health, and his relationships become intertwined in his mind, and the audience is left to decipher what is real and what is a figment of Dark's imagination.

The Singing Detective’s supporting cast is equally as impressive as its leading man, Robert Downey Jr. Robin Wright stars as Dark’s estranged wife, who is also a successful actress in Hollywood. Her character is complex and multilayered, much like Dark's, making their scenes together both emotional and tense. Mel Gibson plays Dr. Gibbons, Dark’s psychiatrist, who also doubles as his imagination's narrator, guiding him through his delusions and helping him to process them.

As the film progresses, we see Dark's mental state deteriorate, and his memories and delusions become more obscure and intense. The Singing Detective is a film that demands the viewer’s full attention. The story twists and turns, and the characters are multidimensional, making the film a fascinating psychological study. The film's soundtrack, which features an array of classic jazz and pop hits, will have you tapping your feet and humming along.

The film's themes are dark and complex, and it is not a movie for everyone. It explores the intricacies of the human mind, including the relationship between the past and present and how our memories shape our perception of the world around us. The Singing Detective is a must-watch for any Robert Downey Jr. fan or anyone who enjoys film noir, musicals, and psychological thrillers.

In conclusion, The Singing Detective is an innovative and unforgettable film that showcases Robert Downey Jr.'s talent as he navigates the complex and multilayered character of Dan Dark. The film’s supporting characters, especially Robin Wright and Mel Gibson, add depth to the story, and the music and cinematography create an immersive and vivid experience. This film is a challenging and rewarding journey into the mind of a troubled writer and is sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone who watches it.

The Singing Detective is a 2003 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 49 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.4 and a MetaScore of 45.

The Singing Detective
Where to Watch The Singing Detective
The Singing Detective is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Singing Detective for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 49 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.4  (8,927)
  • Metascore