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Based on 33 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( )
  • 50
    Mick LaSalle San Francisco Chronicle

    Admiring The Singing Detective is easy, and so is appreciating the originality of the story's conceit, the artistry of the actors and the directorial intelligence of Keith Gordon. But loving it would take an act of will. show more

  • 10
    Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal

    Downey is undone by a woefully amateurish production that, sadly and ironically, looks like a cheap TV show. show more

  • 63
    Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer

    I had the sense that Gordon's ambitious, if awkwardly assembled, film had so many terrific ingredients that he felt compelled to use them all. In this case, alas, more is less. show more

  • 50
    Jami Bernard New York Daily News

    You don't mess with perfection. That is the main reason why The Singing Detective, a virtual remake of the brilliant BBC-TV series of the 80s, falls flat on its psoriatic face. show more

  • 50
    Kirk Honeycutt The Hollywood Reporter

    Keith Gordon's brave attempt to make cinematic sense of Potter's 1986 BBC mini "The Singing Detective" at least has the advantage of a screenplay finished by Potter before his death. But problems of style and tone bedevil the earnest effort. show more

  • 75
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    The movie does not propose to be a comedy, a musical, a film noir story or a medical account. It proposes to be a subjective view of suffering, and the ways this character tries to cope with it. Understand that, and the pieces fall into place. show more

  • 75
    Jonathan Foreman New York Post

    It is worth catching The Singing Detective to see the brilliant Robert Downey Jr. in another extraordinary performance... Unfortunately, the film itself doesn't really work despite its lineage. show more

  • 75
    James Berardinelli ReelViews

    Works not primarily because it's a strange and original brew, but because it accomplishes its goals without seeming to force things. The blending of reality with dreams, memories, and imagination is done flawlessly. show more

  • 63
    Michael Wilmington Chicago Tribune

    Despite intelligent, sympathetic direction by Gordon, a brilliant lead performance by Robert Downey Jr. and an adapted script written by Potter himself before his 1991 death, this "Detective" pales next to its predecessor. show more

  • 63
    Rick Groen The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

    At one point, Downey's character is asked, "What are you gonna do with all this rage, this hate?" and he snaps back, "I'll probably just write serious literature." On TV, where the material seemed both serious and literate, that bit of black humour felt prophetic. On film, it's just a good joke. show more

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