starring Robert Downey Jr., Robin Wright Penn, Jeremy Northam, Mel Gibson
screenplay by Dennis Potter, based on his miniseries
directed by Keith Gordon
by Walter Chaw A film about transplants (UK to America, Michael Gambon to Robert Downey Jr., postwar-'40s English tunes to 1950s American doo-wop), The Singing Detective has as its most effective moments the parts transplanted whole from Dennis Potter's amazing six-hour BBC miniseries. Not to say that Keith Gordon's The Singing Detective isn't a frequently fascinating beast all by itself (the late Potter's own screenplay, shot nearly word-for-word by Gordon, assures a measure of quality almost deliriously high), but to say that the inevitable comparisons will be harsh and, frankly, unfair, given the author's hand in the adaptation and the strain of compression.