Related Articles: Movies, All

Beyond the Sea

More Than a Song-and-Dance Man

When Kevin Spacey performed at Bimbo's 365 Club in San Francisco while on a recent publicity tour for Beyond the Sea, all reports indicated that he channeled Bobby Darin to the core. Spacey inhabits Darin onscreen too, although the film's script shows signs of having been passed through countless rewrites and one too many writers, including Spacey himself. Stylistically the film is all over the map.

There are vibrant, lifelike performances set in such venues as New York's Copacabana and the Flamingo Las Vegas; there are colorful, richly choreographed musical numbers set outdoors (actually Babelsberg Studios outside Berlin) involving a company of dancers; and there are subdued, surrealistic run-ins between the adult Darin and his seven-year-old self (William Ullrich). These plot devices come and go without rhyme or reason -- or purpose.

But the story of Darin's life is a rich and terribly dramatic one, complete with childhood illness, driving ambition, marriage in the spotlight to Sandra Dee (Kate Bosworth), and a soul-shattering family revelation. Happily, the film shows enough of it to warrant respect. If nothing else, Beyond the Sea has a great soundtrack.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5