Catch it to see a major performance by a magnetic actor, but go in with patience and with the realization that the film is something of an interesting failure.
-Joe BaltakeFull Review
... it is just a little bit too much of a disjointed mess.
-Richard RoeperFull Review
When I saw it at Sundance, my attention was divided because I was trying to process the meaning of the jagged structure. Seeing it again a week ago, knowing what to expect, I found it a more moving experience.
-Roger EbertFull Review
The Singing Detective has to settle for a hung jury.
-Terry LawsonFull Review
It stands completely on Downey's tragi-comic performance, although the rest of the cast -- particularly Penn and Gibson -- do good work as well.
Although the miniseries spent time developing the strands of the interwoven stories, the movie flits from idea to idea and plays like a chaotic, failed experiment.
If the movie doesn't really work, it's because it's a hard piece to bring off, an extremely high mark to hit. Still, enough magic is left, especially in Downey's performance, to shock and beguile us.
-Michael WilmingtonFull Review
Fans of the classic Dennis Potter BBC miniseries: Stay far, far away from this pale, Americanized imitation.
-Charles TaylorFull Review
Apart from Downey's convincing contribution, the movie feels too contrived, stagy and inorganic to draw any pleasure.
It's the kind of movie that was made in the spirit of 'Why not?' and will leave most viewers simply asking, 'Why?'
While the general contours of Potter's original story are intact, they've lost all their transitional graces.
-Geoff PevereFull Review
It just doesn't work; not as an adaptation of the acclaimed 1980s British television series, nor as a stand-alone movie.
-Moira MacDonaldFull Review
The movie makes its point and still has another hour to go.
-Mick LaSalleFull Review
Everything works in the beginning, in fact, but the movie spins out of control toward the end.
-Eric HarrisonFull Review
Without the breathing spaces allowed by the long-form, gone are the slow and developing rhythms of the original, its depth of characterization, and its refusal to sentimentalize a really vicious protagonist.
-Rick GroenFull Review
The new Singing Detective mirrors Potter's growth as well as his originality, and moving from television to silver screen feels like a rewarding round trip.
-Michael BoothFull Review
True, Gordon is working from Potter's own adapted script, but it's hard to shake the sense that the writer may simply have been trolling for a Hollywood paycheck.
-Ty BurrFull Review
Although the screenplay is based on one by the late Potter, it feels like 100 pounds of material crammed into a small Ziploc bag.
The Singing Detective gives you the feeling that someone took a handful of disparate films, chucked them into a blender and poured the results onto the screen.
-Chris VognarFull Review
Any sober viewers trying to follow this mishmash mystery are going to wish they'd brought along a cache of aspirin.
-Jeff StricklerFull Review
Virtuoso work by Robert Downey Jr. and an unrecognizable Mel Gibson (who also produced) can't keep The Singing Detective from degenerating into sheer noise.
-Bob CampbellFull Review
The casting misfires.
-Jami BernardFull Review
It is worth catching The Singing Detective to see the brilliant Robert Downey Jr. in another extraordinary performance.
The movie lurches when it should glide, shouts when it should whisper and mumbles when it should sing.
-A.O. ScottFull Review
For all the amazing lengths Downey and Gibson go to, the two actors seem to exist in a vacuum, for this stiff film is virtually devoid of a sense of texture, flow or wit.
-Kevin ThomasFull Review
Robert Downey Jr. is great in a role no one less magnetically reckless would dare approach.
-Lisa SchwarzbaumFull Review
A fine example of entertainment -- an eclectic mix of drama, film noir, and comedy, with plenty of fantasy musical numbers thrown in for good measure.
-James BerardinelliFull Review
The problems come in the shadow world, where everything's a jumble, where Dark's compositional strategy ('all clues and no solutions') eventually becomes wearing, and Gordon's direction can't hold it all together.
-Leslie CamhiFull Review
This is a special film in need of TLC in its marketing.