Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Singing Detective (2003)

Just Singin' In His Brain

- I have never seen the original mid-1980s "Singing Detective" miniseries. Want to know something? To be perfectly honest, after seeing this 2003 film version of The Singing Detective, I do not want to see the original miniseries - I almost do not want to watch another movie ever again.

The Singing Detective starts the extremely talented Robert Downey Jr. as Dan Dark, an egotistical but largely unsuccessful novelist with a tormented soul who, as of recently, has been lying in a hospital bed trying to get through a horrible skin condition. As he lies there in his bed he hallucinates, acts like a jerk, and tries to make up yet another mystery story in his head.

I do not find The Singing Detective to be a very good film at all. The direction makes the film look cheesy, the cinematography makes the film look beyond shabby, and the script makes it impossible for the viewer to take the film seriously. The film aspires to convoluted, jumping around from one period of time to another of which you cannot figure out, from real characters to those of whom you have no idea who they are, and goes from reality to places so weird you want to race to press the STOP button on your DVD remote.

Few characters are likable in the least and, despite what one might think when looking at the film's all-star lineup of Hollywood stars, the vast majority of performances are all nothing special. Jeremy Northam is particularly awful but even Robert Downey Jr. does not excel in ways he usually does. Mel Gibson is the only member of the cast who produces anything likable or interesting as an unusual psychiatrist.

Being a big Robert Downey Jr. fan I was intensely disappointed by 2003's The Singing Detective. Outside of a quirky Mel Gibson this film possesses little value - one needs a brilliant private eye to uncover anything positive about it at all.

CBC Rating: 3/10

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