The Singing Detective

Release Date: October 24, 2003
Limited release

How nice.  The drug-induced voices in his head sing.

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Based on the 1986 BBC miniseries by the same name, the North American theatrical version will feature Robert Downey, Jr. in his first role since emerging from rehab. How appropriate, then, that he would play a character who has psychosis-induced visions.

Indeed, Downey, Jr. plays one Dan Dark, a Chicago-based novelist who is confined to his bed with a heavy-duty case of psioriasis (you heard me). In his feverish state, he imagines that he is the main character in his first novel, The Singing Detective. Ostensibly on the hunt for Nazis in the 1940s, he's actually battling his own inner demons as he plays out the entire story in his dreamlike state. What results is a strange combination of genres, resulting in a mix of movie musical, noir thriller, and psychological character study.

One notable co-star in the film is Mel Gibson, who apparently is playing a character unlike anything he's ever done before. Of course, he's going to trump that big time with the bloody Vanity project that is The Passion. The remainder of the cast is solid as well, with Robin Wright Penn playing Dark's ex-wife and Carlo Gugino as a flashback version of his mother.

With Downey, Jr. back in a role that affords him opportunities for positive attention for his acting talent, here's hoping that he'll find his way back to more big screen parts as opposed to continuing the downward spiral that seemed to be so strongly consuming him in the past. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Singing Detective
Main Cast Robert Downey Jr., Robin Wright Penn
Supporting Cast Mel Gibson, Carla Gugino, Katie Holmes, Jeremy Northam
Director Keith Gordon
Screenwriter Dennis Potter
Distributor Paramount Classics
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating R
Running Time 109 minutes
Screen Count 5
Awards Awards page for The Singing Detective
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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