The Singing Detective (1986) (Review)

Dir. Jon Amiel
Written by Dennis Potter
Starring: Michael Gambon, Patrick Malahide, Lyndon Davis, Joanne Whalley, etc.
415 minutes
(Time magazine top 100)

I enjoy some TV movies/series, but I have a hard time thinking of any that would equal some of the higher quality films, particuarly if I think of films in terms of art. If I had to choose a TV mini-series The Singing Detective would be high upon the list. This is truly a remarkable series, and I highly recommend this to Kevin, Mitchell, Penny, Chris and Grace. Really, whether you end up really liking this mini-series–six one hour episodes (the last one being an hour and a half)–you will be impressed with what you see. Currently, I’m ambivalent about the series in terms of how much I liked it, but it really impressed me in many ways–enough to strongly recommend this series.

For $1 you can rent the series for a week at the public library. Here’s the link.

If you’re still not convinced, let me tell you the reasons I liked this film and some more details about it. The film is about a mystery writer who is hospitalized because of a severe skin disease. While “trapped” in the hospital, he lives in his mind: reworking a novel, among other things. The complexity in the series is truly astonding and ambitious. I’ve never seen another mini-series with this type of complexity–psychologically and in terms of narrative. The only other mini-series that rivals this is David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, but I didnt’ see all of that. I have a feeling that The Singing Detective is better.

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