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Beyond the Sea (DVD)

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Caffeinated Clint
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Clint is the creator, editor and maintainer of Moviehole.

“He’s too old for the part”, utters one of the characters within the film’s opening minutes. Granted, he’s referring to Bobby Darin starring as himself in a biopic – but he could’ve easily been referring to Kevin Spacey, who too, at 45, seems a bit old to be playing the thirty-something music legend.


Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, John Goodman, Bob Hoskins, Caroline Aaron, Greta Scacchi, Brenda Blethyn

“He’s too old for the part”, utters one of the characters within the film’s opening minutes. Granted, he’s referring to Bobby Darin starring as himself in a biopic – but he could’ve easily been referring to Kevin Spacey, who too, at 45, seems a bit old to be playing the thirty-something music legend.

Spacey’s significantly older than everyone else that’s been tied to the role of the Cabaret singer over the last few years. From Johnny Depp to Leonardo DiCaprio, even Bruce Willis (back in the 80’s), Spacey’s definitely a surprise choice for the role of the thirty-something music-man. But you know what? Once the Oscar Winning actor opens his voice and we realise it’s actually him singing – usually in a musical biopic the actor would open his mouth and begin to li-synch to some background tape – he’s welcomer in the part than butter is on bread. Granted, it’s Spacey who got the film off the ground, so no real surprise to see he has plonked himself in the driver’s seat.

The film’s structure has it that Darin is making a movie about his life. This movie within the movie allows us to meet him towards the end of that life as he looks back in time. With the aid of Darin the boy (William Ullrich in his movie debut), the older Darin looks back on his life – the music, the love of his life (Sandra Dee, played by Kate Bosworth), the revelation that his sister was actually his mother, his fall from the top and untimely death at the young age of 37.

More of a case of a killer soundtrack interwoven with a so-so biopic template than an all-round good picture, “Beyond the Sea”, which was written, produced and directed by star Spacey, is a fine balance between sweet and sour. Whilst the blueprint is the film is so surprisingly average and unremarkable, Spacey’s performance and notably, his singing voice, is an absolute charm. Take the man out of this bio and place him in another on Darin and he’d be a shoe-in for a statuette.

Though she’s overshadowed by the marvelous Spacey, beautiful young Kate Bosworth gives a grand performance in the film too. As Sandra Dee – she not only looks the part, but convincingly has us believe she’s an innocent 16-year-old bride one minute, and a 27-year-old depressed housewife the next.

If you love music, you’ll have a great time with the film – but if you’re looking for a gut-wrenching story, with revelation after revelation about Darin, find a paperback on the man’s life.

The rather-thin extras package consists of a tolerable but rather lifeless commentary (Spacey needs a glass of Jolt Cola by the sounds of him) and an EPK-style making of. Considering the film’s dive at the box office though, it’s no surprise there wasn’t a lot of bank available to fatten up the disc’s special features section.

Rating :
Reviewer : Clint Morris

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