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The Singing Detective [DVD] [2003]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Robert Downey jr. plays Danny Dark, a writer of pulp fiction novel called "The Singing Detective." He is hospitalized with a skin disorder which apparently is psychological. His shrink is played by Mel Gibson, in an unorthodox role for him. Dark's novel is based on events in his childhood, making characters from people he had met. Danny is delusional and imagines things in the present, confounding the people in real life with the characters in his book. The dialogue in the movie is excellent. If you enjoyed the dark humor of the Joker in the Dark Knight, you will enjoy the ramblings of Downey early on. The real problem with the movie is that you realize that all the action in the film is delusional. As far as real action and plot, the film moves along as a one man play. Bad language, simulated sex, no nudity.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2012
I've bought this film after reading a small article on the IMDB writing about a standing ovation to Robert Downey Jr. at the end of the screening of The Singing Detective at the Toronto Film Festival, and I've discovered a little surprising movie.
Produced by Mel Gibson who choose both the director and the lead, hiring Downey in a period of his life where he was unassurable and giving him the chance to demonstrate once again his talent.
This makes me appreciate once more Gibson as a person not only as an actor. He cut for himself a support role which shows him in a strange bald character with thick glasses.
The Singing Detective is based on a script written by Dennis Potter the author of the TV series of 1986 with the same name with Michael Gambon as the lead, who managed to shrink 8 hours of TV movie into 2 hours of film and made it perfectly. Mel Gibson in an interview in the DVD extras defines Potter a Genious and I agree.
Why buy it?
1) Robert Downey Junior and Mel Gibson.
2) The fabulous songs from the fifties.
3) A script built on a disgusting disease that originates a great movie.
Last but not least, listen to Robert Downey Junior in the end credits singing one of the movie songs showing that even if the script was written to use playback he could have sang all the songs.

The DVD has not many extras, just the cast and director interviews, but it is definitely worth buying. "I'm just a squirrel waiting for a nut!" one of the best thank yous I've ever listened to.
Hope to make you curious enough to buy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 November 2012
Loved this being a RDJ fan but Mel Gibson is great in it too. Enjoyed it as much as the bbc series of same name
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
I admit when I first saw this film, it was a little confusing, but the second I saw it I realised what a great film this is. Robert Downey Jr plays Dan Dark an author of detective novels. He's in hopsital suffering from psoriasis. His condition has made him very bitter and he spends most of his time laying in his hopsital bed with mental flashes of one of his books 'the singing detective' set in the 50's.
As he tries to recover in hospital, he constantly flashes back to the pages of his book, going over story lines and characters.
Robert Downey Jr also plays the part of 'The Singing Detective' the warbler who solves people's problems. This film is very clever at playing the two story lines together and it shows Robert Downey Jr's amazing talent at playing 2 very different characters in 1 movie.
This film has an amazing soundtrack with so many songs from the 50's era.
You have to see this film.
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on 28 September 2013
The original is better but I think Robert Downey jr made this a good remake.I have enjoyed both but the original has a slight edge
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 1 October 2008
its slow in places- but that adds to the feelings of this man's pain and confinement and robert downey jnr is just wonderful in this. well worth it.
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 15 May 2006
As with many remakes it's easy to hold high expectations and draw comparisons either with the orginals or the book etc but there's nothing to be served by doing this when the objects are on different plains. It gave this film an unrealistic and unbearable expectation to begin with that critics soon expanded upon to really consign it into the bad idea bin of dramatisations, unfairly so.

Robert Downey Jnr gives one of his best performances and shows his true ability to undertake theatrical style work seriously and credibly, if not also admirably so considering the standard this work will always be judged by. He alone makes this the success that it is visually if not comercially. Brody at times was as he is rather wooden but he makes a fair attempt at the role if perhaps a little miscast. Katie Holmes although in her typical sweet role really makes an effort to get to grips with it too and proves she is more than a pretty face.

The visual style is at first a little strange perhaps and different from expectations - yet it ties in well with trying to recreate a theatre atmosphere, a direct viewer/play mode with camera angles, lighting and extended acting mannerisms. Being a film not a play experience this takes a while to get used to but is in itself a meticulous and conscientious if not always beneficial element that might be interpretated wrongly as simply modern style. The scenery and flashbacks work well and the story is both interesting, suspenseful and coherant.

If you withold from making comparisons and try to evaluate this adaptation as a seperate entity, and also consider it's American production, I don't think you can say there's much to find fault here at all. I personally didn't enjoy the BBC version - much like the do no wrong Pride and Prejudice, there is more to life than BBC productions - indeed Potter himself made these modifications intentionally. I found this very helpful in appreciating how it can be brought to screen successfully alongside Lipstick etc etc. I suspect most people viewing have some background knowledge on this story - perhaps with it's stature it will not generally be well received in those circles, yet if it encourages people to look more into the authors work or appreciate the story/play more then that perhaps is a more useful achievement. I don't feel in this case the criticism and burial of this film is deserved.
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on 7 April 2015
OK I suppose
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 April 2012
This man's gorgeousness is bad for your health. I've developed a serious addiction to him and his portrayal of the detective is too yummy for words. Aside from my raging hormones, his portrayal as the psoriatic patient is awesome and he captivates his audience with every scene. A storming performance!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 October 2013
I didn't watch the British TV series with Michael Gambon, so can't compare it, but bought this solely because it stars RDJ. Anything he's in is generally good, so if you are a RDJ fan, this will add to your collection, but otherwise I wouldn't go out of your way to get it.
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