Beyond The Sea

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Beyond The Sea
Review (6.5/10)
(By Erin Cullin)

It was the 1950's and Bobby Darin was king. He was everywhere - music, television and movies. He won a Grammy Award and was nominated for an Oscar. He married Sandra Dee, his beautiful leading lady. Bobby Darin was one of the lucky few to realize his lifelong ambition of "making it big" in the entertainment industry.

Beyond the Sea is a biographical look at the life and times of Bobby Darin. If news reports are to be believed, this is the pet project of the movie's producer, director and star, Kevin Spacey. Apparently, he has been trying to make this movie for several years.

I really wanted to love this movie. I consider Kevin Spacey to be one of the most talented actors in Hollywood today and, when I heard how devoted he was to this film, I thought it really had to be something special. As much as I hate to admit it, I think that those Hollywood bigwigs who expressed reluctance to greenlight this project were probably right.

I cannot put my finger on exactly what was missing in his movie. The actors and the acting were actually quite amazing. Kevin Spacey was outstanding, although perhaps a bit too old to be playing this character (which, ironically, he observed during the course of the film). The music was fantastic - I almost fell out of my seat when I realized that it was Spacey who was singing. Even Spacey's choreographed dance routines were something to see. I never would have imagined Verbal Kint as a full-blown song-and-dance man.

I think where the movie fell flat for me was in the direction (sorry Kevin).

It seemed to me that this movie was trying to be like Chicago or Moulin Rouge with its song and dance routines, but it just wasn't. Instead, it felt like a musical on drugs. (Come to think of it, it reminded me of another somewhat stinky "musical" of recent years - Down With Love.) Just as I would start to get into the film, the actors would break into some strange song and dance scene. I cannot really explain it other than to say that it felt like a kick in the pants. It just didn't seem to belong.

The movie also shifted somewhat carelessly between past and present, often losing the viewer along the way. I have no problem with flashbacks but, again, there was just something about the way that they were done in this movie that seemed very disjointed to me. Also, for a movie that was supposed to be biographical, I found that it really just skimmed over the details of Darin's life, rather than providing the viewers with any concrete information about the characters.

Overall, I have to give this movie a lukewarm rating. While I would have loved to promote this film simply for the fact that it is Kevin Spacey's baby, I simply cannot. It had a lot of the ingredients for a good movie, however, in the end it just didn't seem to come together and I found myself feeling somewhat bewildered and disappointed as I left the theatre. It was a valliant effort, but one which fell severely short of even the most modest expectations.

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