Beyond The Sea

Viewed – 23 August 2008  DVD

For some reason it has taken me a long time to get around to watching this.  I was first attracted to the idea of a Bobby Darin biopic when I saw Kevin Spacey perform Mac The Knife on a chat show -and was stunned.  If any actor was born to play this role, it’s Spacey – and here, in the movie of the actor / crooner’s life directed by Spacey himself – the results are quite remarkable.

Bobby Darin was basically a low-rent Frank Sinatra who eventually found fame in both singing and acting, mostly down to his boundless enthusiasm and magnetic charisma.  He married actress Sandra Dee and was a hit at various big name venues such as the Copacobana and the glitzy clubs of Las Vegas.  Yet he was also plagued with illness; as a boy he was said to not be expected to live beyond 16 years of age.  Although such claims were to eventually catch up with him in his late thirties, what he achieved in between is stuff of Hollywood and music legend.

What I was most impressed by with this film, was the way it avoids a warts and all biopic for more of a swansong to the man, his music and the effect he had on those around him.  Kevin Spacey is simply astonishing, proving himself a magnificent showman – and delivers brilliant song & dance numbers in both realistic and fantasy sequences giving the whole film a magical, surreal look & feel that makes me think of musicals like Singing In The Rain.  I was almost expecting Fred Astair to make a cameo.

Add to this a quality cast (including Bob Hoskins, John Goodman, Brenda Blethyn and Kate Bosworth as Sandra Dee), fantastic visuals and dance choreography – and this is probably one of the most purely entertaining films you’re likely to see.

Verdict:  5 /5

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