While hospitalized with an extreme case of psoriasis, novelist Dan Dark reworks his first book in his head. Feverish, paranoid and prone to musical outbreaks, he confuses himself with his protagonist, a detective investigating the murder of a prostitute in 1950s Los Angeles.
|The Singing Detective Movie(DVD)||Resolution: 720x384 px||Total Size: 1401 Mb|
|The Singing Detective Movie(iPod)||Resolution: 480x256 px||Total Size: 286 Mb||
We have taken some photos of "The Singing Detective". They represent actual movie quality.
After having watched the original TSD six-part mini-series and read some of the bewildered comments about this film when it first screened at the Sundance Film Festival, I prepared to see this movie with some trepidation. Fortunately for us, TSD was included last fall at the Toronto Film Festival, where it played to a packed house of over 1200 people. Director, Keith Gordon was in attendance, along with the film's star, Robert Downey Jr. (Dan Dark) and Katie Holmes (nurse Mills.) Five minutes into it, I knew this was something special and unique as I found myself laughing, clapping out loud and even shedding a few tears. The film was everything Gordon described it to be and then some. (And so was the original.) The 2003 DVD of The Singing Detective is a revised and sharper version of the mini-series and rewritten by Dennis Potter himself. It's a comedy, film noir, musical, intense microscopic character study and surrealistic detective story, with the film's hero slipping in and out of hallucinatory daydreams, as he reluctantly wrestles demons from his childhood. This is accomplished with the aid of one Columbo type, Dr. Gibbon, terrifically underplayed by Mel Gibson. The beauty of the journey is in observing how Dark gets from A to D, while trying to distinguish his angels from the devil. The emotionally and physically ill Dan Dark, unwittingly achieves this task while imagining himself as the tougher, fearless, ladie's man hero of his detective novels. To boot, this detective likes to croon a tune in the after hours clubs. After having watched the film at the Toronto festival and then seeing it again this weekend by renting the DVD, I have to confess this is one of the most fascinating and brilliant films to grace movie screens. It wasn't just an apparition. The critics who didn't care for it, most likely didn't understand it, as it is a challenging film. Even Roger Ebert admitted he had to give it a second look in order to assimilate what he'd initially seen and liked it. (If you're excpecting Chicago, this film is not for you.) In spite of the fact that it wasn't completely understood, almost all critics were unanimous in their praise of Downey. He is superb. Forget Chaplin. (The biopic in which Downey excelled and was nomimated for an Oscar.) This is his complete virtuoso performance and it's worth renting the film just to observe his work alone. No wonder Sean Penn verbally acknowledged Downey in his short list of actors who were not nominated for an Oscar this year, when he received his own statue for the award. With an excellent supporting cast, this DVD is definitely worth the rent, but a few words of caution. Watch it twice and you'll be delighted and amazed by what you might have missed the first time around. In the words of Dan Dark. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.
Adults Only! Contains sexual content. Hyper film noir. I guess an actor must once in a while do a film that helps pay for the house and the therapist. Robert Downey Jr. did "The Singing Detective". Downey plays "Detective Dan Dark" who is in the hospital with a horrible skin condition all over his body that has lasted for three months. It is so bad he is losing his mind. he flashbacks to the land of 1950's film noir where he is a singer (lip-sync old 1950's tunes here). He also has written a book full of pictures which his psychotherapist (Mel Gibson) believes contains clues about his life. He has a problem with women, especially his wife (Robin Wright). It goes back to when he was a child when adults would have sex in front of him of near him. His wife has found his screenplay without him knowing about it. She plans on typing it herself and cashing in on it for herself while her husband is in the hospital. That is Robert Downey Jr. singing "In My Dreams" during the end credits. Some scenes were filmed east of Lancaster, California and north of Antelope Acres, California.
Admittedly, I haven't seen the original British miniseries, nor had I even heard of it before renting this movie. If you're in a similar situation, I'd definitely recommend giving this film a shot.Robert Downey Jr. is brilliant in his role as Dan Dark, a mystery novelist hospitalized with a rather nasty skin disease. A bespectacled and bald Mel Gibson, looking for all the world like a senior citizen, is also excellent in a supporting role as Dark's therapist. Overall, a top notch movie that provokes quite a range of emotions.
Please, please, please, don't watch this before you see the originalBritish TV version. This adaptation had to be so heavily condensed thattoo much was lost. Individual performances aside (Downey is great), itsimply can't begin to compare to the original.Also, I have to add a note of complaint about the two menacing hoods inthis version. Although I generally love Jon Polito, the two wereportrayed in such a buffoonish way in this that is was impossible totake them seriously. And the original plot, which made sense (in theelliptical way Potter's plots did), here degenerates into nonsense.Gibson is OK in his role but doesn't really add anything. He's wearinga prosthetic nose and is barely recognizable, but there's really noreason for Gibson to be in that role aside from his being a producer.
I did and almost got a ticket while doing so.Its an enjoyable film but i dont think many people would enjoy it... otherthan myself.Very good acting throughout the film but it was missing thespark.Katie Holmes was great as usual (for the time she was in the movie) but ithink Pieces of April was a better film.Ps Mel Gibson's part was also very good and enjoyable
The original 48-hour TV production could apparently only be networkedeitherin it's entirety or not at all.Why then was this bastardisation ever allowed? To ascribe Potter's name tothis travesty of a mockery of a sham is an insult to possibly the greatestscreen writer to ever draw breath.I was more than ready to hate this, and I must say I was not disappointed.Where to start? The performances (mostly bad), the shoe-horned musicalnumbers, the lack of character development...This follows the increasingly wearisome and well-trodden path that isRemakeAlley. Take a classic, stick some big-bucks names in it and call it Betty.Have you guys run out of ideas? Get Carter!? The Italian Job!? Do us afavour, get a writer!$#The (albeit few) positive reviews cite RD Jr's performance. Thismoist-eyedsentimentality for the drug-addled loon's fall from grace is quitetouching.However, methinks he was playing himself, and as for Gibson! No matterwhatdemands the part asks of him, he plays Gibson. A bit like Michael Caine,butdevoid of cockney charm & wit. Or Ozzy charm & wit, but he's not evenreallyan Ozzy.Can't wait for his newie... "Strewth Sheila, I mean Mary! Throw us atinny,I've been in the bush for 40 days and noights (sic) and I've a mouth likeaswagman's grundies!" ...I think not.
THE SINGING DETECTIVE is a brave new world for cinema. Adroitly written, directed by Keith Gordon, and 'performed' by a wonderful ensemble of actors, this is not a 'film noir', not a musical in the vein of "Moulin Rouge" of Baz Luhrman, not a flashback to 'golden oldies': this film is a randy combination of all these elements and more. It is a thriller/spoof/comedy/tender statement about man's isolation and dependency on illusion to explain the past, and just plain bizarre but thoroughly entertaining stuff! The cast is headed by a bravura performance by Robert Downey, Jr. in the title role - a hospitalized man who deals with his childhood and life by creating a fictional movie in which he is embedded as a detective. Also superb are Robin Wright Penn, Jeremy Northam, Katie Holmes, Alfre Woodard, Mel Gibson, and Adrien Brody among other more minor roles. The staged 'musical numbers' are lip-synched favorites by the main actors and are sensational in the way they weave into the story line. You must be in an adventuresome mood to enjoy this movie, but give it a chance and it will mesmerize you.
Dan Dark, writer of noir, Raymond Chandler-esque Detective fiction is suffering from a severe skin condition that has made him virtually a prisoner in his own body. Mentally, he dwells in the realm of his novel, The Singing Detective, where he is a suave, hard-boiled yet sensitive PI. When forced to interact with the real world, Dark is obnoxious, angry and abusive. When his condition fails to improve, his doctor prescribes psychotherapy. Using his book as a key to his past, his therapist hopes to unlock Dark's subconcious and set him on the road to healing.There were several good things about this movie. The concept had a great deal of potential to be depthful and interesting. The film-making was pretty interesting. The performances were remarkable and Mel Gibson's make-up job was astounding. But the movie as a whole didn't work for me because the overall story lacked a coherent dynamic structure. The pieces worked, but they didn't fit together and I felt that some of them were missing. I don't mind having to fill in a few blanks in a movie, but in _The Singing Detective_ I had the constant and unpleasant feeling that I wasn't quite sure what was going on.The movie moves through three storylines: the real world of Dan Dark in the hospital, the fantasy world of Dan Dark, The Singing Detective, and the memory world of Dark's childhood. I didn't think the Detective world was given enough attention. The story that was happening there was not entirely clear and there was little internal logic. This frustrated me because it seemed to me that the detective world was supposed to be the place where the other two worlds met. But since it had no solidity, it was only a tenuous bridge and the viewer was left to make up a lot. I would have liked it better if the filmmaker had chosen to spend more time with the detective world and less time in the hospital. Also, far too much time and detail was spent in Dark's memories. By the time we got to the big revelation scene, it was redundant because we already knew what Dark was going to say. There was no sense of climax, and the closure seemed contrived.The murky story was muddied even further by a subplot that seemed to deal with Dark's paranoia about his present day life. I think this could have been left out. Often there was no clear distinction made between what was really happening in the present-day world and what wasn't. All in all, the film had such a surreal feel that, not only was it difficult to tell what was going on, it was difficult to care.Watching _The Singing Detective_ was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle with pieces that have intersting shapes but, when joined, give a picture of a Rorshach ink blot. What the viewer gets out of it is probably his own business. What I got was bored.
THE SINGING DETECTIVE (2003) **1/2 Robert Downey, Jr., Robin WrightPenn, Mel Gibson, Jeremy Northam, Katie Holmes, Adrien Brody, JonPolito, Carla Gugino, Saul Rubinek, Alfre Woodard, Amy Aquino, DavidDorman. Downey gives a game performance in this big-screen version ofthe acclaimed tv mini-series concocted by author Dennis Potter about atroubled pulp fiction writer going through a traumatic breakdowninvolving a nasty case of psychological based psoriasis and the innerworkings of his fevered creative wellspring of his mind in overdriveincorporating bursts into musical sequences (a nice '50s jukeboxoffering to boot) while his surroundings are crumbling around hispsyche and his eponymous warbling gumshoe and alter ego adding somepunchy moments in a fond valentine to film noir. Director Keith Gordongets the gist more or less but the end result feels half-baked yet theeclectic supporting cast (including a barely recognizable Gibson asDowney's psychotherapist under a lot of make-up). Speaking of make-upkudos to Greg Cannom for his superb job in showcasing the flaky, itchyprison of skin that nearly cripples Downey. Gives new meaning topublish or perish!
This is one rather odd unusual movie. It mixes several movie elementssuch as comedy, musical and film-noir. It's however one mix thatdoesn't really work out and comes across as an odd one.It's also most certainly due to the confusing script that mixes truthand fiction and uses lots of flashback elements that also mixes pastwith 'present'. What is this movie really about? What story does it tryto tell? Exactly what is the point of this entire movie and what doesit try to achieve.The movie obviously tries to be an homage to the '50's and the '50'smovie genre but it does so without having much style of its own. Theclothes are right, the dialogs are right but the atmosphere reallyisn't, which is of course the most important element. The musicalelements could had helped to let the movie work out better but themovie chooses to use evergreens instead new, specifically for thismovie written songs. Also the fact that the actors are obviouslyplay-backing to the real singers is a reason why it just doesn't everwork out in the movie. The movie tries to be stylish and fun but it'sperhaps trying to hard, which causes it to work ineffective. This moviegave me the feeling that a different director could had still let thismovie work out.The movie obviously doesn't try to be serious but it does this byactually having also very little humor in it. Yeah, you can say thatthis movie is a black comedy but this movie really isn't the best ormost effective example in its genre.Too bad that the movie didn't really worked out, since it had a greatand surprising cast. It was Robert Downey Jr's. first big role afterhis drug addiction. He of course got the role through his good friendMel Gibson who is a producer of this movie. Downey Jr. does a good joband he once more shows how a great actor he is and how well he iscapable of carrying a movie. Mel Gibson himself also plays a surprisingrole underneath a lot of make-up effects. The movie further more alsofeatures Adrien Brody in his first role since his Oscar-winningperformance in "The Pianist". It really wasn't his greatest careerchoice.Has it's moments but in the end this movie leaves nothing more than apointless and confusing impression.4/10
I picked this turkey up in the frozen food aisle of my local supermarket for a few bucks, though I would have been a better shopper buying a frozen pizza & bean burrito instead. The DVD gave me more indigestion. From the cover, I thought it might be a low-rent L.A. Confidential, being set in the 1950s with very pulpish cover art. I love noirs set in Los Angeles, but this is certainly no Double Indemnity. They must have blown the budget on Downey's skin disease, because you really have to see it. Hey director, ever hear of "establishing shot?" Made me wish for my old low-def analog 19" TV. It really does stink like a student film from a really troubled student. A real howler is the hospital operating staff from '50s L.A. supposedly. They look like a "diversity is our strength" poster from a community college. The black woman has a '80s style hairdo, though it doesn't really matter. Hollywood can't make a decent movie, but you certainly know who's voting for Obama in 2012. Yiiihaaaa! It's on its way to the landfill.
They went for a 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest' with more style, andended up with 'Battlefield Earth', minus the great acting. I haven'tseen the original series, so I can't compare the two, but the serieslasted pretty long, so it couldn't have been bad.The acting isn't atrocious, but Robert Downey, Jr. is too tough to lookat through the beginning. He mumbles, and I can't understand what he issaying. 'Speak up!' I once found myself yelling at my television. MelGibson is just pointless here. His role has no substance, and as thedoctor he accomplishes nothing. In fact, the only good performance wasfrom Katie Holmes, who was quite honestly a sight for sore eyes afterso many pointless scenes.That's the main problem here; The Singing Detective had no clear point.There's a lot of smaller stories weaved in, but they don't seemrelevant. Bob Downer is stuck in that hospital, looking around,occasionally imagining that he is in some kind of dance club (?).There's something about his wife as well, and finally, Adrien Brody andJon Polito play a bumbling duo that can't quite seem to catch a manstrapped to a bed.This might have had a point, somewhere. Until we find out what thatwas, save your money.
During the first five minutes of this surrealistic film noir, surprisingly steeped knee deep in reality, we watched principal character, Dan Dark/Robert Downey Jr, literally ravage against hospital staff members, hurling verbal obscenities and dishing out caustic abuse at random. Dark's only weapon is his acid tongue as he's rendered useless, while laid flat out, trapped inside of a body covered by lesions, symptomatic of a debilitating form of psoriasis. Not only is his body stiff, but his hands are curled, with limited, rigid movements and that doesn't take into consideration the restless turmoil existing within his mind. This is the place where he feels most imprisoned and helpless. A sort of pergatory, where he dwells while waiting for his fate to unfold.I appreciated the many ways creator, Dennis Potter, interjected and interwove characters and scenes, in and out of the starkness of the hospital setting, to the tainted, inner workings of the detective novelist's mind, as bedridden Dark lay haunted by unresolved memories from his emotionally abusive youth. After engaging in a sordid affair, Dark's mother uprooted herself and her little boy to go to work as a prostitute, while doing little to shield the child from her new vocation. These actions resulted in Dark having little faith or trust in women. As a result, he subliminally projected those beliefs, in conjunction with his anger, onto the female characters in his stories. And onto his wife who becomes the recipient of most of his venom. All of this occurs concurrently, with another one of his detective stories, while he envisions himself as the hard-boiled hero of his novels. Trying to solve crime inside of the pages and simultaneously attempting to get a grip on the unspeakable hurts from his past, still living within his fertile mind. While Dark journeys into his vivid hallucinations and his childhood, cheesy 50's song and dance routines spring to life as he works towards uncovering the root of his illness, aided by the unconventional methods of one Dr. Gibbon, uniquely portrayed by Downey's long time friend, Mel Gibson. Director, Keith Gordon, did a splendid job of utilizing Potter's initial recreation to the fullest without losing the integrity of the plot or needlessly compromising the images and emotions projected on screen by the film's key players. This comedic version is not as dark as the mini-series and that is how Potter wanted it. As an audience, we were led on a fascinating journey while wondering every so often what was fact and what indeed was fiction, which for me was part of the magic of the film's concept. I enjoy being challenged when I watch a movie and don't want to be hit over the head repeatedly with obviousness. Not convoluted, but challenging, this revised film was delightful to watch and just when some of the heavier scenes started to make me squirm, something humourous would occur from out of the blue. Not only was Dark being chased by his own shadow and two thugs, but he also suffered from acute paranoia, believing his wife was after his money. It was hysterical at times watching him try to distinguish his demons from his angels. In addition to a wonderful performance by Mel Gibson, who shares some brilliant scenes with Downey, each supporting cast member is terrific and important to the story and it's merit. Robin Wright Penn and Downey have excellent chemistry and Katie Holmes, who is featured as Dark's sexy but benevolent nurse is oh, so sweet. Carla Gugino's dual role as Dark's mother and the victim in his novel is equally memorable, with Adrian Brody providing light-hearted support as one of the "bad" guy. I would have enjoyed seeing Nurse Mills (Holmes) receive more screen time, but her role was certainly key to the story and provided levity and sexual fantasy to Dark's brooding mental state. The concept of the film is different and doesn't conform to rules or a formula often utilized by Hollywood studios, but it's far more refreshing. A highlight was listening to Downey himself sing a soothing rendition of Gene Vincent's "In My Dreams" as the credits rolled across the screen. Clearly and unequivocally, this film belongs to Robert Downey Jr., as he literally consumes and lives within the soul of the movie. He is simply outstanding in the role of Dan Dark as he moves seamlessly from the physical and emotionally crippled patient with the razor sharp wit, to street smart detective, to heartbreakingly handsome crooner of the after hours clubs. (No wonder Sean Penn tipped his hat to Downey's performance when receiving his own best actor Oscar this year.) He's bright. He's funny. He's poignant and reminds you in every single scene just what a damned good actor he is. Downey's secret is that he pulls out all of the stops with a natural and effortless flair. It's been a long time since I've chuckled that often, or my emotions have been toyed with so shamelessly while being transformed from my comfort zone to a new kind of Twilight Zone. Money well spent for an evening of guaranteed entertainment.
This review is from: The Singing Detective (Amazon Instant Video) I saw the original UK miniseries of this novel.This movie is similar,the music has been updated to a decade.The editing, direction was excellent.Robert Downey plays his parts to perfect.Mel Gibson in his small role was very goodThe other actors are fantastic also, I was lost in the movie for awhile.Not many movies do that for me.If you like 1950's rock n roll, film nior detective stories and having your mind challengedthis is the movie for you.
Keith Gordon's spectacular remake of Dennis Potter's acclaimed mini-series"The Singing Detective" is like three movies for the price of one: anaudacious rock and roll musical reminiscent of French new wave classicslikeGodard's "A Woman is a Woman" and Demy's "Umbrellas of Cherbourg"; a wittyfilm noir pastiche that both honors the traditions of its genre and takesthem in new directions; and (and most potently) a scathing character studyof a troubled writer who hates women and himself in seemingly equalmeasure.The movie's tone varies wildly, from goofy humor to haunting tragedy, butGordon orchestrates the shifts with the same supreme sense of craft thatheexhibited in earlier gems like "Waking the Dead" and "Mother Night." He'shelped in no small part by his actors, all of whom are brilliant; RobertDowney Jr. gives the performance of his career in the film's complexleadingrole, and the other performers support him with wit and style (especiallyentertaining are Mel Gibson's uncharacteristically nerdy psychiatrist andthe always great Katie Holmes as a nurse who shares the film's funniestscene (and sexiest musical number) with Downey. This reworking ofPotter'soriginal story (scripted by Potter himself shortly before his death) hasallthe pleasures of the original but stands on its own as a supremelyoriginalAmerican musical.
Firstly, this project needed a much more stylized director than KeithGordon, who is fine for straight, simple films but just doesn't know howtofilm a frame. The movie is dour, lacking of any real magic, and is onlyworth it to witness the funny and stunning transformation of Mel Gibson.Even the songs chosen were unoriginal. A total misfire.
This is definitely not a film for all tastes. However after reading so many negative reviews and noticing the little money it has grossed, I think "The Singing Detective" is largely underrated. Robert "Get Doped Up And Pass Out In Stranger's Homes" Downey Jr. turns in a fun double performance as a mentally disturbed author suffering from a skin disease and an alter ego singing detective (hence the title) that lives in his imagination.Slow script and not much of a narration, but this film packs in some catchy musical numbers, great performances, and a wild psychological journey into a man's state of madness.
It would be hard not to be interested in viewing this film consideringeverything involved from the great cast to the origin of the script andit's writer. Story is about Dan Dark (Robert Downey Jr) who is in thehospital suffering from a hideous skin disease that covers his entirebody. Dan is a pulp fiction writer and while his pain ridden body liesin a hospital bed his hallucinations usually end up in song and danceroutines or of himself as a Humphrey Bogart-like character.*****SPOILER ALERT***** Dan is also paranoid that his wife Nicola(Robin Wright Penn) is cheating and plotting something against him buthe also fantasizes about two hit men (Adrien Brody & Jon Polito) thatare trying to kill him. Dan is sarcastic and downright insulting toeveryone around him and it seems to stem from his memories of hismother Betty (Carla Gugino) so part of his therapy is to talk to thehospital psychiatrist Dr. Gibbon (Mel Gibson) who attempts to get atthe core of his problems which may mean that his skin condition mightbe psychosomatic.This film is directed by Keith Gordon (Waking the Dead) who along withproducer Mel Gibson have assembled a good solid cast that helps theviewer get through the films duration because the script makes it'spoint early then meanders on for another hour. Downey has always beenone of our more interesting and talented actors and here he's extremelywell cast because the character he plays seems to mirror his ownpersonal demons. Downey has that rare gift of taking any sort ofmaterial no matter how elaborate and make it watchable and he does ithere although after about an hour the films premise grows increasinglytiresome. Dennis Potter is credited with the script and reports say hefinished it before his death in 1994 although it has sat around foralmost 10 years until someone decided to film it. The BBC series from1986 was hours and hours long and you get the feeling that thoseresponsible for this condensed effort had difficulty figuring out whatto leave in and what to take out. I look at this film as an interestingtry but one that loses it's spark of originality about halfway through.
Well, this is a picture that gets both raves and expressions ofdisappointment. I am in the disappointment group.My viewing friend loved it, but once I expressed my sense of where the movielost my confidence in its cinematic direction, well, he agreed that mypoint was correct. This point was about 80% down the path in which I couldnot accept a short scene -- one that broke ranks -- that left medisappointed while accepting the pieces at both ends from thatnexus.My disappointment is in the small scene in the hospital in which therelationship between Dr. Gibbon and Dan Dark leaps into comedy rather thanmaintaining the serious connection between patient and doctor in dealingwith issues of health and their causes in trauma in one's past. There aretwo minutes of so that should have found the floor of the film editorslaboratory. Patients should not dance with their psychiatrists. The stronger message inthe film is the transition from illness to health. Otherwise, playing outDark's novel and its characters along this path of cure worked justfine.
This film is not anything like the 1986 British mini-series. This shorter version is a daring and mostly successful attempt by director Keith Gordon to fuse all the elements of the story into a madcap collection of tough reality and odd hallucinations. Dan Dark (Downey) is a bedridden author severely disabled by the worst case of psoriasis imaginable. He refuses any medication and thereby experiences hallucinations - or reality - or stories for his next book? Director Gordon teases us through out the movie. Downey is exceptional as the acid tongued, highly emotional, screaming patient who has a wisecrack quip for any lowly doctor or nurse that comes his way. He verbally abuses his wife who can barely keep up with attacks, but sometimes shines through when needed. There's a lot of paranoia in this story and the 40's film clips where Dan Dark is the detective investigating some murders is part tongue in cheek and part possible reality. The scenes are chunks of 40's detective clichÃ©s thrown into a series of sentences. It's masterfully amusing. When Downey gets nearly unbearable to watch as the pain stricken patient, the film switches to a hallucinatory dance and signing number driven by Dan Dark's imagination. Sometimes it seems like a diversion and other times it's sheer brilliance. All the actors, Robin Wright Penn, Adrien Brody, Katie Holmes and Mel Gibson (as the nearly unrecognizable psychiatrist) do masterful jobs and Dennis Potter's dialogue is amazingly crisp. It's a good story, albeit sometimes disjointed, but the entire experience is well worth the time.