Starring: Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, Bob Hoskins
Director: Kevin Spacey
Running Time: 118 mins
Beyond The Sea is an American film about the life of famous singer Bobby Darin, and his rise to international stardom along with his wife Sandra Dee.
Directed, written, produced and performed by Kevin Spacey, this film is clearly a passion project of the great actor’s. Centring around classic singer Bobby Darin, Beyond The Sea shines in Spacey’s fantastic central performance, as well as some lively musical sequences. However, as a biopic, the film is extremely convoluted, going too far to be different from the generic biography, and never quite managing to make an engaging watch.
However, if there’s one thing that I can really rave about after having watched this film, it’s Kevin Spacey’s performance. Above all, his singing is amazing. Spacey sings all of Darin’s songs on his own, and nails each and every one, making it sound so much like the original music, but through using his own voice, Spacey brings his version of the character into every musical sequence, making them continually entertaining to watch.
Beyond his singing talents, however, Spacey’s acting is just as good as always. Complemented by a strong supporting cast, the way he plays Darin as an egotistical but clearly intelligent, smooth and ambitious man makes him consistently compelling to watch on screen, as he battles through all of the ups and downs of his career during the mid-20th Century.
Another thing that I enjoyed about Beyond The Sea was the musical sequences. There aren’t actually too many, and this definitely feels a lot more like a biopic than a movie musical, but when the film does break into song, it does it with energy, life and glee. Whether a colourful fantasy sequence with dancing and singing, or simply watching Spacey singing alone on a stage, the musical parts of the film were always fun to watch, and often reinvigorated me when the story side was beginning to flail.
And that’s what unfortunately brought this film down so much for me. Although I loved the music and the acting, the screenplay just wasn’t up to scratch. Taking on a biography that doesn’t differ too much from other great rises and falls of showbiz, Spacey tries hard to shake things up to make Beyond The Sea a more interesting watch than most by-the-numbers biopics.
I admire the ambition, but the way that the film delves into convoluted mirroring between Darin’s present and child self, making a movie about making a movie about his life, and the portrayal of some of the key relationships all made the film a lot more confusing than it needed to be, and as a result, a lot less engrossing.
Overall, I didn’t mind Beyond The Sea. Spacey’s acting is terrific, as are the musical numbers, but the film is severely let down by its convoluted narrative that takes too many chances that just don’t pay off, and make for an often frustrating and even confusing watch, and that’s why I’m giving Beyond The Sea a 6.9.