Movie Review: Beyond the Sea
Alternate Title: Leap of Faith
Story: Why a leap of faith? If you can get past the fact that 45 year old Kevin Spacey (producer, chief writer, director and star) plays Bobby Darin (the mega pop star of the 50's and early 60's) from a 19 year old to his premature death at age 37 than you will most likely enjoy this film.
If you are unable to do that you will still find things to like about the film including the terrific music and Spacey doing all of his own singing and dancing (yes, dancing).
The story of Darins meteoric rise to fame and fortune is told in a nonlinear fashion with homages paid along the way to those wonderful old song and dance movie musicals. If you can handle people breaking out into song in the middle of a scene (as I did) you will be smiling from ear to ear.
If you are a purist and are going to compare this film to other biopics of late (particularly Ray) you will rob yourself of some good entertainment.
The startling image of Spacey in a banana yellow colored suit singing and dancing is well worth your time.
Acting: Kevin Spacey is a terrific actor. Most of you probably know the story of the journey that this film took from script to big screen. It was an arduous task with many bodies lying in its wake before we got to see the final cut. Yes, Spacey is too old, doesn't really have the pizzazz that Bobby Darin had, but his passion for this project and the sight of him enjoying himself so much up there on the screen made all of the film's flaws simply go away. There are some wonderful other actors including the young boy, William Ullrich, who plays Darin as a child, Kate Bosworth, who got that Sandra Dee thing down pat, and Bob Hoskins, Greta Scaachi, John Goodman, Brenda Blethyn and Caroline Aaron all give their all towards this period piece.
Predilection: I liked Bobby Darin's music.
Critters: A little dog.
Visual Art: Much attention was paid to getting the details of the 50's and 60's and it worked. I loved the sets, the posters and the paintings.
Soundtrack: Wonderful. I was toe tapping and smiling throughout.
Opening Titles: A black and white wavy graphic.
Theater Audience: A full audience at a screening (November 26, 2004). People applauded at the end.
Quirky Meter: That yellow suit requires a '2' for quirky.
Drift Range: I did not drift a bit.
Tissue Usage: 0
Oscar Worthy: Probably not.
Nit Picking: I forgive any sins about the film because it was so entertaining.
Big Screen or Rental: Oh, big screen for sure. Although I am not certain who this audience will be. For some other Kevin Spacey winners, try renting: The Shipping News, American Beauty, The Negotiator, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, LA Confidential, The Usual Suspects, Swimming with Sharks and Glengarry Glen Ross.
Length: Two hours.
LOBO HOWLS: a very generous 8