Dan Dark is a novelist trapped in a clinic treating his severe case of psoriasis which leave shim unable to move almost any part of his body without severe pain. The disease has made Dan true to his name; he is mad at the world, thinks his wife is cheating on him and trying to take him for his money, and suffers from intense paranoia. In an effort to escape the prison of his body Dan’s imagination has taken over and he see’s the fantasy of what he thinks is going on in his life with his wife and doctors, and in his imagination he is the fictional persona from his book, the singing detective.
One of my favorite things about The Singing Detective is the visual style of the film. There are three separate worlds in the movie and Keith Gordon creates a distinct style for each yet somehow manages to stitch them all into one cohesive whole. The colors and lighting in The Singing Detective are a thing of beauty.
I must also complement Robert Downey Jr. Keith Gordon came to my class in college and spoke about working with Downey in this movie; The Singing Detective was Downey’s first starring role in a film since his jail sentence and producer Mel Gibson and Gordon had to fight to get Downey cast as the lead. However, their insistence paid off and Downey gives a memorable and moving performance as the paranoid Dan Dark.
The Singing Detective is a multi-layered movie, and is very different. Keith Gordon made a quirky film about a man trying to figure himself out and it is quite the experience to watch.
Director: Keith Gordon
Writer: Dennis Potter
Dan Dark: Robert Downey Jr.
Nicola: Robin Wright Penn
Dr. Gibbon: Mel Gibson
Mark Binney: Jeremy Northam
Nurse Mills: Katie Holmes
First Hood: Adrien Brody
Second Hood: Jon Polito
Betty Dark: Carla Gugino
Dan Dark: Are you pretending to be an oddball or are you actually nuts?