HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Halloween Kills
Cicada
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Comets
Herself
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Eternals
Forever Purge, The
Memoria
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Japon
Glasshouse
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Malignant
Deadly Games
Ailey
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
Zola
No Time to Die
Klaus
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Candyman
Power of the Dog, The
StageFright
Voyage of Time: An IMAX Documentary
Suicide Squad, The
One Night in Miami...
   
 
Newest Articles
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
   
 
  Singing Detective, The Out Of Tune
Year: 2003
Director: Keith Gordon
Stars: Robert Downey Jr, Robin Wright, Mel Gibson, Katie Holmes, Jeremy Northam, Adrien Brody, Jon Polito, Carla Gugino, Alfre Woodard, Saul Rubinek, Amy Aquino, David Dorfman
Genre: Musical, Drama, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Dan Dark (Robert Downey Jr) is a writer of detective novels who finds his fictional life and his real life intertwining when he's hospitalised with a crippling skin disease. In his dream life he's the hero of his first novel, "The Singing Detective", playing a nightclub performer turned gumshoe who is trying to discover the story behind the recently murdered young woman abandoned in a the city's river. In his real life, he tries to sort out his paranoia and hallucinations brought on by his treatment, all the while letting his frustrations eat him up inside, almost as corrosively as the condition maims his body.

The trend for bringing television programmes to the big screen continued unabated with this adaptation of the classic Dennis Potter serial, scripted by Potter himself. The television version took six episodes to spin its yarn, innovatively moving backwards and forwards in time and in and out of reality to build up its profile of the hangups and background of the main character, but the film version only has an hour and three quarters, meaning the psychological aspect has less space to be investigated. As much as detective story as to how Dark has arrived in his current mental state as it is the book's mystery, the flashbacks are too perfunctory to be of much help in this incarnation.

The book is more personal than Dark wishes to admit, and when he is recommended to see a psychiatrist, played by Mel Gibson in almost as much makeup as Downey, he initially refuses to give anything away. However, Dark's apparent hatred of women, supposed to be caused by the infidelity of his wife Nicola (Robin Wright), has a more deep seated reason. When he was a child, he witnessed his mother (Carla Gugino) committing adultery with his father's business partner, with the result that Dark and his mother left to take refuge in an unwelcoming Los Angeles. He's never forgiven her.

All this digging around in Dark's mind is rendered in the same theatrical style as the television series, but to lesser effect. There are musical numbers which see the cast miming along to hits of the fifties such as "Mister Sandman" and "Poison Ivy", but there's little done to make them cinematic, they are simply wheeled on like interludes without adding much except a distraction. The most famous scenes of the series are recreated, like the aforementioned adultery, and of course, the greasing sequence, now starring nurse Katie Holmes, where Dark fights not to become aroused by her medical attentions, but the narrative compression, and relocation to America, has resulted in a different tone.

Here, Dark may be understandably bitter, but his tantrums and Downey's irritable performance come across as more petulant than anything else. As the film drags on, he begins to look like a self-obsessed bore rather than tragic figure deserving of our pity, and the only way we are aware that time is progressing is by the improving condition of his skin. Comparisons to a television series which stuck so vividly in the minds of many viewers are inevitable, and anyone arriving at the film without having seen the previous portrayal may well wonder what the fuss was all about. This Singing Detective sounds flat, and sad to say is nothing more than a belated footnote to an important dramatist's career. Did we really need to hear Downey singing, not miming, over the end credits?
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4541 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: