Hospitalized for a severe skin disease, a bitter writer (Robert Downey Jr.) imagines he is the gumshoe from his novel.
" 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. "
" Fans of the classic Dennis Potter BBC miniseries: Stay far, far away from this pale, Americanized imitation. "
" Apart from Downey's convincing contribution, the movie feels too contrived, stagy and inorganic to draw any pleasure. "
" 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. "
" While the general contours of Potter's original story are intact, they've lost all their transitional graces. "
" 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. "
" It's the kind of movie that was made in the spirit of 'Why not?' and will leave most viewers simply asking, 'Why?' "
" The Singing Detective has to settle for a hung jury. "
" Although the screenplay is based on one by the late Potter, it feels like 100 pounds of material crammed into a small Ziploc bag. "
" 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. "
" The movie makes its point and still has another hour to go. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" ... it is just a little bit too much of a disjointed mess. "
" Everything works in the beginning, in fact, but the movie spins out of control toward the end. "
" 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. "
" It just doesn't work; not as an adaptation of the acclaimed 1980s British television series, nor as a stand-alone movie. "
" It stands completely on Downey's tragi-comic performance, although the rest of the cast -- particularly Penn and Gibson -- do good work as well. "
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